JENNY HOLZER "FOOD - INFLAMMATORY ESSAY" 1982
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 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, economics, voting 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 shortly after in other cities. Unsigned and commercially produced, they subverted the conventions of both advertising, graffiti and public art. Each essay was in a different eye-catching color to maximize viewers' attention. It was also helpful when one Essay replaced an older one
The texts were derived from her childhood interest in rapturous writings. Holzer tried to emulate a similar style for her essays, yet borrowed from political theorists (notably Mao, Lenin and Emma Goldman), anarchists and religious fanatics.
The essays shift between multiple viewpoints and do not reflect Holzer’s own, but rather overall themes and styles taken from her inspirations. The essay's tones are declarative, aggressive, urgent, and often menacing.
Each essay 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.
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 soothing, soft mint background of this Inflammatory Essay juxtaposes it's dark, disturbing content. Exploring their disordered relationship to food, the narrator identifies maternal rejection and lack of love as a fundamental cause. While praising and exalting the skeletal figure and disparaging bodies with fat, the narrator's psyche is clearly plagued by an eating disorder. Holzer's dark, sardonic tone blurs the line between satire and reality. Despite being written decades ago, these words remain timeless and urgent - perhaps even more relevant and chilling than ever given today's technology (Instagram, selfies, photoshop) and beauty standards.
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 +1.416.704.1720
"Inflammatory Essay" (from Documenta 1982)
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
Free USA and Canada shipping when purchased online
- Where does the inventory ship from?
Our inventory is divided between New York and Toronto.
- Where do you ship to?
We can ship anywhere. Typically when we ship within North America we prefer to use FedEx or DHL. To Europe, Asia and beyond we generally use DHL.
- How much does it cost to ship?
For shipments within North America, we typically charge a flat rate fee. Many items on our site will list the rate. For shipping outside of North America, we can easily provide a quote and will look for the most efficient and economical option.
Most of the items on our site can be easily shipped internationally.
Occasionally we will recommend that an artwork be removed from its frame for shipping. Larger framed works are typically framed with plexiglass. We export over 80% of what we sell, so we are comfortable shipping anywhere.
- Are there additional taxes or fees?
When a work is valued above $2,500 usd there is a possibility of tax of 0.35%, but this is applied sporadically. There can similarly be an additional fee for customs brokerage and this can range from $20 - $65. US Taxes, duties and customs brokerage are not included in our flat rate shipping. However most of our shipments to the US enter without any additional fees.
- Do you provide a certificate of authenticity?
Yes, we guarantee everything we sell. We can provide both a digital and printed version of our certificate of authenticity.
What is your return policy?
- Caviar20 wants you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase. We have a 7 day no-questions full refund return policy for your purchase. Shipping charges are non-refundable. Return shipping is the responsibility of the customer. After 8 days returns are given a credit note. There is no expiration for our credit notes.
- What payment methods do you accept?
Canadian clients are welcomed and encouraged to pay with interac.