Jenny Holzer - Contemporary Art Part I New York Monday, November 8, 2010 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galerie Philomene Magers, Cologne

  • Catalogue Essay

    Jenny Holzer’s “Erlauf Peace” texts memorialize the lives lost in World War II referring to the site where, on May 8th, 1945, Russian and American soldiers met to declare peace. As part of this series, Holzer created two commemorative installations, the Erlauf Peace Monument in Erlauf, Austria, and the Black Garden, in Nordhorn, Germany, both of which incorporate the design of landscape with her inscribed benches and stone pathways.  As is typical of her work, these benches embrace public space in an effort to be seen and to confront viewers with messages that are often difficult but important to face. The physical weight of these benches reflects the profound weight of their literal message—the same as that of the Erlauf Memorial in Austria—and together with their infinite durability, they stand in memoriam. Holzer’s Selections from Erlauf make participants out of viewers, inviting those who come across them to rest, absorb and ruminate on their inscriptions: WHO DIED LOOKING, A MEMORY OF DOMINANCE, WHOSE THOUGHTS ARE MISSING, PARENTS QUIET WHEN YOU ARE TAKEN…
    This work exemplifies the way in which Holzer is able to give a voice to silent thoughts, often bringing to light concerns of war, death, violence, oppression, sexuality, feminism and power. Throughout her oeuvre she has continued to play with language, tartly turning clichés and sayings in on themselves as she mobilizes them for her own purposes. Indeed, she makes them mobile, often times running them across an LED screen or placing them on a bumper sticker. Seemingly mundane phrases become hauntingly serious when monumentalized in stone or broadcast on billboards or commercials. As the artist herself explains, “I came to language because I wanted to be explicit about things, but didn’t want to be a social realist painter. I had been an abstract painter and that was the painting that I loved, and that I could do. It’s not that I thought that one was better than the other, but for some reason I couldn’t become a figurative painter. I wanted to be explicit about things, and it became clear that the only other way for me to do it was to use language. People can understand when you say or write something.” (J. Simon, “Other Voices, Other Forms,” Jenny Holzer, Germany, 2008, p. 21)

  • Artist Biography

    Jenny Holzer

    American • 1950

    Jenny Holzer is a Conceptual artist best known for her text-based public art projects. Holzer's work speaks of violence, oppression, sexuality, feminism, power, war and death. Throughout the years, Holzer has employed a variety of media, from a T-shirt to a plaque to an LED sign. Starting in the 1970s with the New York City posters, and continuing through her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, she uses her art as a form of communication and commentary. Holzer's art hangs in important collections around the globe including 7 World Trade Center, the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao and the Whitney Museum of American Art. 

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Selections from Erlauf II


Dark black Zimbabwe granite.

Each bench: 17 3/4 x 78 x 28 in. (45.1 x 198.1 x 71.1 cm).
This work is from an edition of two.

$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for $386,500

Contemporary Art Part I

8 November 2010
New York