Purple Diary

[March 30 2009]

JENNY HOLZER’S PROTECT PROTECT at the whitney museum, new york

Eleven yellow electronic LED signs lie horizontally at the entrance of the museums fourth floor, running 13 different texts across the space. In a nearby room, black and white redacted text paintings and pale stone benches fill the gallery, while in another, her paintings and curved light structures hang on opposing walls. Protect Protect is a traveling survey of Jenny Holzer’s work over the last 20 years. It is mesmerizing from every angle. The artist has paired the use of text and the centrality of installation to examine the contradictory voices, opinions, and attitudes that shape everyday life and dominant ideology. Alternating between fact and fiction, the public and the private, the universal and the particular, she offers an incisive semantic portrait of our times which can be considered Holzer’s own poetry or a political wake-up call.

Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, through March 31st, 2009. Photo and text by Gavin Doyle

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