ARTIST ROOMS: Jenny Holzer, the latest in the series of annual free displays, will open to the public on 23 July and run until summer 2019. It brings together key works from across Holzer’s four-decade career, including rarely seen works from the artist’s archives and installations exhibited in the UK for the first time, in Tate Modern’s dedicated ARTIST ROOMS gallery.
American artist Jenny Holzer (b.1950) is renowned for thought-provoking, text-based installations that incorporate diverse media and a pioneering use of electronic technologies. The artist draws on content from a wide range of sources, often incorporating incongruous viewpoints to examine the nature of communication and human interaction. Tate’s ARTIST ROOMS display will feature works from Holzer’s major texts, including Truisms, Living, Survival and Laments, in addition to writing by others. Installations include three large-scale paintings created in collaboration with the New York graffiti artist Lady Pink, one of which will be on display in the UK for the first time, and the largest selection of the artist’s drawings Diagrams 1976 ever exhibited together.
In Holzer’s early series Truisms 1977–79, the artist composed almost 300 aphorisms based on beliefs and existing maxims. The Truisms first appeared on posters wheat-pasted anonymously around lower Manhattan and have been printed on a range of ephemera including t-shirts, condoms and disposable cups, a selection of which will be shown together with posters and a 1980s Truisms LED artwork. Texts cast as plaques and carved in stone will be shown as a counterpoint to the ephemeral, frenetic electronic lights that echo the language of breaking news, commercialism and consumerism.
The display will also feature Holzer’s Redaction Paintings, begun in 2006, which reproduce declassified government documents relating to American and British interventions in the Middle East. The paintings will be shown alongside a sculptural installation of a surplus sleeping bag embroidered with the first-person testimony of a British veteran, collected by The Not Forgotten Association.
Other highlights include an LED sculpture titled FLOOR 2015, originally intended for display on the ground, but which the artist has chosen to mount to the ceiling for the first time, allowing audiences to experience the work from a different vantage point. Another LED work, THEY LEFT ME 2018, is programmed with accounts from Syrian refugees, provided by Save the Children and Human Rights Watch, as well as poetry by the celebrated Polish author Anna Świrszczyńska, who was a volunteer nurse and member of the Resistance in World War II.
The ARTIST ROOMS gallery opened in the Blavatnik Building on 17 June 2016 with a Louise Bourgeois display, followed by Bruce Nauman in 2017. The ARTIST ROOMS collection is owned jointly by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland and was established through The d’Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments.
Holzer was born in 1950 in Gallipolis, Ohio, and lives and works in New York. She studied liberal arts as well as printmaking and painting, and earned an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence in 1977. Her work has been shown at prestigious museums worldwide including the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, Fondation Beyeler and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and she has created many public projects and installations including for Louvre Abu Dhabi, New York City AIDS Memorial, the Bundestag in Berlin and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Recent shows include Blenheim Palace and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, both 2017. She represented the US at the Venice Biennale in 1990, for which she won the Leone d’Oro award for best pavilion. She also received the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award (1996), was named an Honorary Academician at the Royal Academy of the Artist, London (2016), holds the rank of Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2016), and was awarded an International Medal of Arts by the U.S. Department of State (2016).
ARTIST ROOMS is a touring collection of over 1,600 works of modern and contemporary art. The collection is displayed across the UK in solo exhibitions that showcase the work of more than 40 major artists, and this touring programme gives young people the chance to get involved in creative projects, discover more about art and learn new skills. Since 2009, nearly 50 million people have visited more than 165 displays at over 79 museums and galleries.
ARTIST ROOMS is jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. The collection was established through The d’Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, and the Scottish and British Governments. The current ARTIST ROOMS touring programme is delivered by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate in a partnership with Ferens Art Gallery until 2019, supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Art Fund and by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. www.nationalgalleries.org/artistrooms | www.tate.org.uk/artist-rooms | www.artistrooms.org | #ARTISTROOMS