Born: Gallipolis, Ohio 1950
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/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Smithsonian American Art Museum
3rd Floor, East Wing
New Acquisition Label
Jenny Holzer (b. 1950) 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 twenty-eight feet tall and four 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.
Jenny Holzer designed For SAAM in response to the high ceilings and open, airy space of the Lincoln Gallery. The sculpture features texts from four of the artist's previous series-- Truisms, Living (Selections), survival (Selections), and Arno. The bold statements scroll around the column, projecting messages such as "Abuse of power comes as no surprise" and "Money creates taste" with flashing LED lights. Holzer's "truisms" adopt an authoritative tone on a range of subjects, including feminism, morality, and interpersonal relationships.