09 Jan 2023 / 27 Oct 2022

SITE Santa Fe Spotlight: Jenny Holzer, All Fall, 2012

Once consumed by passersby on the streets of New York City via pasted posters, the single-sentence declarations, cliches, urgent messages and comically absurd announcements of Holzer’s texts come full-circle in the conceptual artist’s 2012 All Fall.

Here, the formerly guerrilla-style, low-fi texts of Truisms and Living, meant to surprise, delight and possibly concern the public are now cycled on repeat in glowing, can’t-ignore-it LED lights. Inspired or pulled from the artist’s readings of critical, religious, political and radical revolutionary manifestos and publications, Holzer invited the reader through language and happenstance to consider the manipulation of propaganda in our everyday. “I used language because I wanted to offer content that people—not necessarily art people—could understand,” she explained.

Survival, the only text initially conceived for electronic signage, takes the most demanding note of the text trios, with alternating statements of extreme including explosion, starvation, fun, poverty and love.

Together, Holzer asks us to parse, consider, self-edit, and, perhaps most importantly, linger on what stands out…now, and later, conscious or not. Perhaps the work is best summed by this simple line from her first collection of lines on view: REPETITION IS THE BEST WAY TO LEARN.

About the Artist

Jenny Holzer is an American conceptual artist best known for her text-based public art projects. Exploring how language is used both as a form of communication and as a means of concealment and control, Holzer has employed a variety of media throughout her illustrious career, notably including large-scale projections, LED displays, and signage. Her popular series Truisms began in 1977 when she was enrolled in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program. Born in Gallipolis, OH, Holzer received her BFA from the Ohio University in 1972 and her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1975. Her work is represented in museum collections worldwide, and in 2008 the Whitney Museum in New York organized Protect Protect, a major retrospective of Holzer’s work. She currently works and lives between Brooklyn and Hoosick Falls, NY. Holzer’s work first appeared at SITE Santa Fe in 1995 for the institute’s inaugural exhibition Longing and Belonging: From the Faraway Nearby.

About Santa Fe Spotlight

SITE Santa Fe Spotlight seeks to strengthen collaboration across New Mexico’s arts communities by dedicating space to works loaned in partnership with local institutions, foundations, and private collections.