Just In: A Timely Sculpture by Jenny Holzer

November 30, 2016

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is delighted to announce the upcoming sale of an iconic bench by Jenny Holzer, whose text-based work is among the most recognizable in contemporary art today. Dubbed a member of the Pictures Generation, along with peers like Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman, Holzer appropriates the language of mass media as a means of questioning the implicit assumptions which circulate in contemporary society. She employs pithy phrases, slogans and mottos across multiple media, from neon signs and sculpture to painting and photography. This striking piece will be available in our March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Jenny Holzer, There is a period when it is clear…, 1980-1982 (detail image of the bench)
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

Born in 1950 in Gallipolis, Ohio, Holzer took art classes at Duke University, the University of Chicago, Ohio University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work began to take focus in 1976, when she participated in the Whitney Museum’s independent study program and experimented with text, installation art and public sites. In the 1980s Holzer began exploring more complex materials, engraving her texts into marble and granite, as is the case with There is a period when it is clear… (1980-1982). This granite bench is an understated, intimate piece and invites small-scale contemplation as opposed to the monumental vision of Holzer’s major public projects. In Holzer’s large scale projects, she emblazons text across prominent sites, for instance the vast LED light installation of the billboard Protect Me From What I Want (1982) in Times Square, New York, or For the City (2005) which was projected across the façade of the New York Public Library.

There is a period when it is clear… employs the ‘Government style’ font, which was designed by the United States Department of War in the 1930s and remains in use today for all Veterans’ Administration headstones. The associations of carved stone, and the officious origin of the typeface, create a sense of permanence and authority at odds with the conversational tone of the text. This timely piece serves as a cautionary reminder to the bench’s beholder.

Holzer’s work is represented in numerous major public collections around the world, including Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), Chicago, IL; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Tate, London.

Lot information:

Jenny Holzer
There is a period when it is clear…
Bethel white granite bench
17” x 36” x 18”
Together with copy of original invoice from Stuart Regen Gallery dated April 18, 1990
Provenance: Stuart Regen Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above, 1990)
Estimate: $60,000-90,000
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

Leave a Reply