Jenny Holzer has been using the public setting to present her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions. Beginning in the late 1970s with the Truisms and Inflammatory Essays posters that Holzer plastered to the walls of New York City buildings to her recent xenon projections on prominent facades, her texts and practices have rivaled ignorance and violence with humor, kindness, and moral courage. Her work has been shown worldwide in prominent institutions such as the Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy), The Institute of Contemporary Art London (London, England), and the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France).
Holzer’s most recent work, Truth Before Power, is on display at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria through September 5, 2004. The exhibition explores the United States government’s complex political relations with the Middle East from the end of the Second World War to the present, the United States’ current “war” on terrorism, the consequences of 9/11 and ensuing debate, the theory and practice of intelligence and counter-intelligence, and the problem of achieving a just and workable balance between secrecy and transparency.