Protect me From What I Want

Jenny Holzer is an artist who has made words her art, blurring the line between language and visual art. Her work is always thought provoking, sometimes insightful and often enraging. Having started as a painter, she has taken the visual aspect of her work down to stark confrontation through a reduction of elements to naked text, though often using startling, almost guerrilla techniques that throw the art in the faces of an unsuspecting public.

From a November, 2007 interview with Holzer about her installation at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art:

SB: I mentioned that some of your stuff was on some guy’s blog — to describe what I’m looking at, I have your stuff in one column and then he has some ads. On one side, it’s four different watch faces and in pink letters it says “Real fake watches now available.” Lower, I see something like “Coffee exposed.” All sorts of things like that and it’s funny, because it looks like the world has moved in the direction of some of your work over the years — it looks perfectly natural together on a page.

JH: That’s startling.

SB: Is that something that had ever occurred to you at all? Looking at things like that, encountering things and saying “Oh, gosh, that’s something I was commenting on 20 years ago!”

JH: I want to think occasionally I’m alert, so maybe this is reassuring yet sad.

SB: So you may be visionary, but you hadn’t given it too much thought.

JH: Better not to think about oneself, it’s paralyzing enough to think about what’s around you.


Documentary about Jenny Holzer shot in Rio de Janeiro 1999. Directed by Marcello Dantas.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three


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