A major new Jenny Holzer exhibition at Blenheim Palace has been announced for September. Holzer is the fourth artist to take on the challenge to fill the Palace’s sumptuous eighteenth-century interiors and grounds with contemporary art. She will be creating new, site-specific work, directly addressing the Palace’s military and political history in relation to themes which have figured prominently in her practice since the 1980s: power, conflict, and activism. As one of America’s most loved living artists, Holzer is provocative and outspoken, working with language to question what is presented as truth in everyday life. For nearly four decades, her work has sought out different ways of infiltrating public space and public consciousness, starting with her Truisms series, which included the much-quoted ‘Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise’. Over the years, her words have been presented on anonymous posters around New York, carved into fine stone and shone day-bright in LED light around the world.
“My first visit to Blenheim Palace left me with too many ideas, on the complex past and its relevance to this knife-edge present.” – Jenny Holzer
Jenny Holzer at Blenheim Palace will showcase many new works. The exhibition will use augmented reality to explore the potential of the virtual space. This interest in new technologies and art will run through the show, which will also feature Holzer’s well-known work with LED signs, beaming into the Baroque architecture of the Palace. Additionally, Holzer is developing large-scale light projections that will transform the Palace grounds after dark in a series of night-time public events. Alongside these, more meditative areas will feature examples of Holzer’s best-known work, such as her renowned engraved stonework, as well as new installations using black mondo grass
This is the fourth exhibition of contemporary art hosted at the historic Palace, following Ai Weiwei, Lawrence Weiner, and Michelangelo Pistoletto, and continues Blenheim Art Foundation’s commitment to exposing new audiences to contemporary art by showcasing the most important artists working today within one of England’s most treasured landmarks. With this new exhibition, the Foundation and the artist work together to break new ground, hoping to radically rethink the viewer’s experience of fine art exhibitions. This spirit of innovation will present fascinating contrasts with the historical tradition that the Palace stands for. With this exhibition, Holzer will marry past and future, simultaneously challenging viewers with her installations whilst also engaging with the historical precedents that have cemented Blenheim Palace’s enduring legacy.
Michael Frahm, Director of Blenheim Art Foundation, said: “We are very excited to work with Jenny Holzer for the Foundation’s 2017 programme. Her vision for the show is extraordinary and this exhibition looks to push boundaries in terms of what visitors expect to see at contemporary art exhibitions. Jenny has been one of art’s strongest and most unique voices since the 1980s, and it is an honour to work alongside her on this new chapter in her work, and to continue to showcase ground-breaking contemporary art at Blenheim Palace.”
For more than thirty-five years, Jenny Holzer has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions, including 7 World Trade Center, the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, a plaque, or a LED sign, is writing, and the public dimension is integral to the delivery of her work. Starting in the 1970s with the New York City posters, and continuing through her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, her practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humor, kindness, and courage. Holzer received the Leone d’Oro at the Venice Biennale in 1990, the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award in 1996, and the Barnard Medal of Distinction in 2011. She holds honorary degrees from Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, The New School, and Smith College. She lives and works in New York.