JENNY HOLZER "20 INFLAMMATORY ESSAYS - DOCUMENTA SET" 1982

$7,500

Jenny Holzer is one of the most important and original artists of the 20th century.

Her body of work, with its emphasis on text, is consistently provocative and occasionally frightening, manipulating the language of folk wisdom, pop culture and government slogan to produce commentary on global issues including power structures, gender struggle and warfare.

Holzer's iconic "Inflammatory Essays", produced between 1979 and 1982, were first pasted on walls throughout heavily populated metro areas including New York and other cities. Unsigned and commercially produced they subverted the conventions of both advertising, graffiti and public art.

The texts were derived from her childhood interest in rapturous writings. Holzer tried to emulate a similar style for her essays, yet borrowed from from political theorists (notably Mao, Lenin, Goldman), anarchists and religious fanatics.

The essays shift between multiple viewpoints and do not reflect Holzer’s own views, but rather overall themes and styles taken from her inspirations. The essay's tones are declarative, aggressive, urgent, and menacing. 

Each essay (one per sheet) contains exactly 100 words in 20 lines of text. The rigidity of this contained format is juxtaposed against the extreme content exploding from the essay. It is worth emphasizing that these texts were frequently pasted on walls alongside or even covering conventional street advertising. 

Between 1979-1982, Holzer pasted her “Inflammatory Essays” posters around heavily-populated areas of New York City. Each essay was in a different eye-catching color to maximize viewers attention. It was also helpful when one Essay replaced an older one.  

Over the course of Holzer's career, the artist has continued to revisit the content and affect of the "Inflammatory Essays" and as such they are like cornerstone of her practice.  

The "Inflammatory Essays" can be found in numerous museum collections including the Tate (London), the Broad (Los Angeles, The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), MACBA (Barcelona), and the Centre Pompidou (Paris) to mention a few. 

Questions about this artwork? Contact us or call +1.844.440.4287

"Inflammatory Essay" (from Documenta)

Twenty offset lithographs

17”H 17”W (each)

Very good condition

Detailed condition report by request 

Note: Essays were photographed in plastic protective sleeves 

Literature: "Jenny Holzer" by Diane Waldman 1989, pg. 58-59

 

 

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