DEMENTED WORDS. Jenny Holzer

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Open: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm

542 & 548 West 22nd Street, NY 10011, New York, United States
Open: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm


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DEMENTED WORDS. Jenny Holzer

to Sat 29 Oct 2022

Artist: Jenny Holzer

542 & 548 West 22nd Street, NY 10011 DEMENTED WORDS. Jenny Holzer

Tue-Sat 10am-6pm


Renowned American artist Jenny Holzer has used language as her primary medium since the 1970s, mobilizing poetic, political and personal texts to reflect on our experiences of power, violence, joy, idealism, nonsense, despair, fun and corruption. Hauser & Wirth New York presents Holzer’s most recent works—including paintings, ‘curse tablets’ and a monumental kinetic display packing presidential tweets—in the artist’s long-anticipated solo exhibition for New York City.

Artworks

PATRIOT 9, 2022

24k gold and antique gold leaf and oil on linen
259.7 x 200.7 cm / 102 1/4 x 79 in
© (2022) Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

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KUSHNER, FLYNN and KISLYAK met, 2022

Caplain gold and moon gold leaf and oil on linen
259.7 x 200.7 cm / 102 1/4 x 79 in
© (2022) Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

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Keyhole of history, 2022

24k gold and moon gold leaf and oil on linen
147.3 x 111.8 cm / 58 x 44 in
© (2022) Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

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A dangerous world, 2022

24k gold, Caplain gold, moon gold and platinum leaf and oil on linen
61 x 46.2 x 3.8 cm / 24 x 18 1/4 x 1 1/2 in
© (2022) Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

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Cursed (detail), 2022

Stamped lead and copper with precious metal plating, patinas and pigments, 296 elements
Dimensions variable
© (2022) Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

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January6, 2022

Caplain gold and moon gold leaf and oil on linen
259.7 x 200.7 x 3.8 cm / 102 1/4 x 79 x 1 1/2 in
© (2022) Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

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World War III, 2022

Caplain gold and moon gold leaf and oil on linen
259.7 x 200.7 x 3.8 cm / 102 1/4 x 79 x 1 1/2 in
© (2022) Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

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Holzer’s Hauser & Wirth New York debut sees the artist engaging directly with the present moment, drawing from new and ancient cultural-political materials to illuminate contemporary life. A centerpiece of the presentation, ‘WTF’ (2022), is a swinging electronic sign with tweets posted by Donald Trump during his presidency and posts by Q, leader of the QAnon conspiracy. The latest in a string of experiments with kinetics, ‘WTF’ slides along a track in an unpredictable cadence that echoes the erratic rhythm with which the messages appeared online. The flashing and scrolling texts illuminate nearly 300 ‘curse tablets’ lining gallery walls and scattered across the floor. This new body of work was inspired by inscribed lead tablets used by ancient Romans to seek vengeance. Holzer’s tablets were created by stamping tweets onto metal fragments, then distressing and aging them through crumpling, folding, piercing and chemical baths. Like ruined or molten iterations of Holzer’s previous evocations of public plaques, the damaged tablets suggest refuse, wreckage and devastation. Together, the battering-ram-like electronics and quasi-archaeological tablets compose a time capsule of the recent past and present, recording the hyperbolic, enraged rhetoric characterizing today’s political and media landscape—divisive language matching or exceeding that employed in Holzer’s ‘Inflammatory Essays’ (1979 – 1982).

The exhibition also presents a selection of new large-scale paintings on linen, marking the latest phase in Holzer’s painting practice, which analyzes and visualizes the ongoing and interconnected tumults in American politics from the era of George W. Bush to the present. The surfaces of these works are are built over tracings of enlarged pages of heavily redacted government documents, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election and FBI records pertaining to the Patriot Act. Holzer meticulously covered the redactions and blank space with colorful blocks of oil paint before adding layers of luminous gold, platinum and other metal leaf. The paintings’ seductive beauty belies the difficult content beneath their surfaces, reminding viewers that the world around us contains truths and secrets that are suppressed yet eminently present.

Exhibition view: DEMENTED WORDS Jenny Holzer, Hauser & Wirth, New York, 2022 © 2022 Jenny Holzer, ARS. Photo: Filip Wolak


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