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Jenny Holzer in "Protest"

Jenny Holzer discusses the concepts behind some of her most well-known projects, including For 7 World Trade (2006), for which she projected text onto a glass wall of the lobby. Much of Holzer’s work focuses on devastation and cruelty, and uses the words of others.

“I stopped writing my own text in 2001,” she explains. “I found that I couldn’t say enough adequately and so it was with great pleasure that I went to the text of others.” Viewers observe Holzer creating new work as she prepares an exhibition of paintings and prints of declassified, redacted government documents, some of which are letter-size, while others are blown-up to an overwhelming scale “…in hopes that people will recoil,” she says.

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Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Jenny Holzer

Whether questioning consumerist impulses, describing torture, or lamenting death and disease, Jenny Holzer’s use of language provokes a response in the viewer. While her subversive work often blends in among advertisements in public space, its arresting content violates expectations. Holzer’s texts—such as the aphorisms “Abuse of power comes as no surprise” and “Protect me from what I want”—have appeared on posters and condoms, and as electronic LED signs and projections of xenon light.

Jenny Holzer

2:39
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Jenny Holzer

1:31
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Jenny Holzer

2:35
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Artist Jenny Holzer and poet Henri Cole discuss how their collaboration began, and the ways in which their work together has evolved since.

13:01
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12:59
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12:32
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