In For the City (September 29–October 9, 2005) Jenny Holzer’s light projections of poetry and declassified documents illuminated landmark New York City buildings. At the Rockefeller Center and The New York Public Library poems by Wisława Szymborska, Yehuda Amichai, Henri Cole, Mahmoud Darwish, and other celebrated writers moved across the nighttime facades, encompassing the reader with language’s power to educate and console. At New York University’s Bobst Library, Holzer projected recently declassified government documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. Holzer’s presentation of these documents suggests the American society’s struggle to achieve an equitable balance between transparency and secrecy, public and private.
For nearly a decade, light projections have been a critical component of Jenny Holzer’s artistic practice. The moving projections, akin to credits scrolling at the end of a film, allow Holzer to work demonstratively with the ephemeral. The projections always involve the cityscape and surrounding architecture; spaces, people, and time are included in an affirming gesture. Linking Holzer’s early street-based practice to her long-standing engagement with mass media tactics and content common to the world of advertising and news, the projections enable her to access the public realm and the average passerby from an artistic perspective.
Video by Matt Wolf courtesy Creative Time. To learn more go to creativetime.org.