04. 01. 2009
Jenny Holzer's Protect Protect Show
The currently ongoing retrospective of Jenny Holzer at the Whitney Museum, entitled "Protect Protect" is a dizzy display of control over text and messaging. The show contains two sections. The first half contains pieces which are a continuation of Holzer's now famous explorations of slogans and marketing communication. Brightly glowing LED signs broadcast messages such as "Abuse of Power Comes As No Surprise" in her work "For Chicago." At first glance the signs seem like not much more than the signage in New York delis which display the current jackpot of the state lottery. However, the subversive phrases make the viewer feel uneasy. The signs are often embedded into the wall, allowing the text to hang in the air above the viewer.
Much of her recent work, which comprises the second half of the show, uses text from declassified documents made public from the ACLU and the National Security Archives. The work of blown up military documents uses otherwise unaltered text and images that have been partially blacked out because what lies beneath was deemed too sensitive for the public. The pieces of enlarged photocopies offer an interesting and poignant contrast to the hi-tech LED signs. The connection between the two halves is the use of the simplest of forms and material to convey caution and danger.