FOR THE CAPITOL
Installations by Jenny Holzer
Projections will be on view to the public from 7.30 pm till midnight
“I see little of more importance to the future of our country and
of civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.
If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the
artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.”
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust
the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness,
will result in undermining in the days of our children the very
property which we ought by right to hand down to them
amplified and developed.”
President Theodore Roosevelt
Photographer credits: Lili Holzer-Glier
Internationally renowned artist Jenny Holzer will present FOR THE CAPITOL on the nights of September 13 through 16, 2007 (from 7:00 pm to 12:00 am). At the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Holzer will project, in the form of light, selections of speeches and writings by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt. Passing over and on the Potomac and onto Roosevelt Island, the words, cast by high-powered projectors, will address the themes of art, culture, the environment, and conservation. “Holzer’s work will present a dialogue between two great bipartisan leaders and two distinct periods in American historycreating a mirror to issues that are still being debated in our country today,” say Nora Halpern and Welmoed Laanstra, the organizers and curators of FOR THE CAPITOL.
Akin to credits rolling at the end of a film, the projected language allows Holzer to work demonstratively with the ephemeral. Landscape and architecture are engaged; spaces, people, and time are tucked into a spare and affirming gesture. Linking her early street-based practice to Holzer’s long-standing engagement with media and tactics common to the worlds of news and advertising, the projections have enabled the artist to continue to reach and intrigue audiences. Since 1996, Holzer’s projections have taken place in five continents, over a dozen countries and twenty cities. From Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie to I.M. Pei’s Pyramide du Louvre in Paris, Holzer’s light events have intervened in significant architectural spaces. Her projections onto waves and mountains in Rio de Janeiro, the Seine River in Paris, the Arno River in Florence, the mountains and ski jump in Lillehammer, and now the Potomac River in Washington engage the natural landscape as quiet and affecting settings for reflection and exchange.
FOR THE CAPITOL is the latest project presented by Street Scenes, a public art series organized and curated by Halpern and Laanstra. Previously, Street Scenes presented Yoko Ono’s IMAGINE PEACE project and ART NOT ADS, which placed visual art and poetry on moving billboard trucks. Halpern is an independent curator and a vice president at Americans for the Arts. Laanstra is an independent art curator and a public art curator for Arlington County, Virginia.
For thirty years, Jenny Holzer has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale, the Reichstag, and the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao. Her medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, as a plaque, or as an 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 up to her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, her practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humor, kindness, and moral courage. Holzer received the Leone d’Oro at the Venice Biennale in 1990 and the Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network Award in 2004. She holds honorary degrees from Ohio University, Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, and The New School. Holzer lives and works in New York.