Jenny Holzer exhibition, Chicago

The LED installation created at the Reichstag
(Image credit: Jenny Holzer)

Jenny Holzer never signs her work. Her most prominent creations, glowing text-based installations fashioned over the last 30 years on everything from billboards and building façades to rock faces and crashing waves, are almost eerie in their anonymity, voices anchored more to their physical and social contexts than to any single, human personality.

Click here to see more of Jenny Holzer's work. (opens in new tab)

Her truisms, deliberate clichés, and borrowed prose touch on subjects as disparate as consumer culture and torture, death, power, and love, and boldly feature on some of the world’s grandest stages - from a giant 1980s Times Square electronic billboard shouting ‘Protect Me From What I Want’, to the LED installation she created at the Reichstag, to poetry projected onto the side of the New York Public Library, and one of her latest projects, a stream of white-lit text scrolling across and illuminating the lobby of 7 World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan.

A new exhibition, opening on Saturday 25th at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (opens in new tab), Jenny Holzer: Protect Protect, examines the artist’s work since the 1990s across a breadth of media including futuristic LED installations, sculpture, light projections, and paintings based on declassified government documents. Even at its most urgent the tone is never aggressive, more a plea than an order. What emerges is a body of work that is at once beautiful, thought provoking, and strangely quiet.


Museum of Contemporary Art
220 East Chicago Avenue

Chicago, IL 60611

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Harriet Lloyd-Smith is the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.