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ProgrammingJenny Holzer

January 27, 2009

Jenny Holzer’s history as a typesetter feels obvious, once you’re acquainted with her signature text-based artworks. From PROTECT PROTECT at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Holzer recounts her fondness for programming the LED electronics that display her statements.

Within the programming process, Holzer curates the speed of the revolving message, and orchestrates the pauses and flashes of the phrase. The emission of light by the LEDs is affected by each of these variables, simultaneously influencing the mood and energy of the exhibition space.

More information and credits


Producer: Wesley Miller, Nick Ravich & Kelly Shindler. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera & Sound: George Monteleone and Alexander Stewart. Editor: Jenny Chiurco. Artwork Courtesy: Jenny Holzer. Text Courtesy: Wislawa Szymborska. Special Thanks: MCA Chicago & Karla Loring.

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.


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James Turrell

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Sarah Sze

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Curator Elizabeth Smith shares her thoughts on Jenny Holzer’s 2008 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, PROTECT PROTECT.

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Jenny Holzer

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Jenny Holzer

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