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b. 1950, Gallipolis, Ohio
Jenny Holzer was born in 1950 in Gallipolis, Ohio. She received a BFA in printmaking and painting from Ohio University, Athens, in 1972, and in 1975 she entered the MFA painting program at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. While there, she began to introduce language into her work. Holzer moved to New York after earning her degree at RISD in 1977 and enrolled in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. That year, she created her first all-text works, the Truisms series, printing them on paper, which she pasted up anonymously around the city.
Holzer has been the recipient of several important awards, including the Blair Award, presented by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982, and the Leone d’Oro award for best pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1990. She also won the Skowhegan Medal for Installation (1994), the Berlin Prize Fellowship (2000), and a diploma of Chevalier from the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government (2002).
In addition to the numerous solo and group exhibitions in which her work has appeared, Holzer has created many public projects, among them a Truisms display on the Spectacolor Board in Times Square in 1982, sponsored by the Public Art Fund, and a series of public spots for MTV in 1989. Her monumental outdoor light projections have transformed the nocturnal landscapes of such recognizable sites as the Arno riverbank in Florence (1996); the Spanish Steps in Rome (1998); the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (2000); Musée du Louvre and Pont Neuf in Paris (2001), and Rockefeller Center (2005), New York Public Library (2005), and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2008), all in New York. She has also published several books, including A Little Knowledge (1979); Black Book (1980); Hotel (with Peter Nadin, 1980); Living (with Nadin, 1980); Eating Friends (with Nadin, 1981); Eating Through Living (with Nadin, 1981); and Truisms and Essays (1983). She lives and works in Hoosick, New York.