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New Acquisitions

Jenny Holzer's For SAAM (2007)

Jenny Holtzer piece

The Smithsonian American Art Museum's most recent acquisition is For SAAM, a major site-specific light sculpture by Jenny Holzer (b. 1950). Holzer is an internationally renowned artist best known for her pioneering work incorporating texts into light-based sculptures and projections.

For SAAM (2007) is Holzer's first cylindrical column of light and text created from white electronic LEDs (light emitting diodes). The piece, according to the artist, is "sensitive to the formal integrity of the museum and attuned to the experience of the collection and space."

The sculpture, which is approximately 28 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter, features texts from four of the artist's series—Truisms, Living (selections), Survival (selections) and Arno—and includes some of her best-known statements. The texts are programmed to swirl and travel around the body of the piece. By varying the height, font, intensity and direction of the scrolling letters, Holzer activates the transparent column and the surrounding space with light that reflects off surfaces in the gallery.

For SAAM is the latest work that is part of Holzer's ongoing exploration of art and architecture. She has created site-specific work for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Reichstag in Berlin and 7 World Trade Center in New York City, among others. For SAAM is on display in the museum's third floor Lincoln Gallery with other contemporary artworks from the permanent collection.

For SAAM, 2007, Electronic LED array with white diodes, 336 x 48 in. (853.4 x 121.9 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, © 2007 Jenny Holzer/ member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photo by Gene Young.