JENNY HOLZER: REDACTION PAINTINGS, text by Robert Storr
Cheim & Read, 2007, First edition, 112 pp., 9 1/2" X 12", Hardcover
This elegant clothbound monograph gathers the most recent work by the seminal language-based installation artist, Jenny Holzer. Presented to great acclaim at New York's Cheim & Read gallery this past summer, the work consists of enlarged, colorized silkscreen "paintings" of declassified and oftentimes heavily censored American military and intelligence documents that have recently been made available to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. Beautiful in their own right, the works are also haunting reminders of what really goes on behind the scenes in the American military/political power system. Documents address counter-terrorism, prisoner abuse, and even the threat of Osama Bin Laden. Some of the documents are almost completely inked out, like Colin Powell's memo on Defense Intelligence Agency reorganization. Others are spotty enough to allow readers to try to fill in the blanks. As Roberta Smith wrote in the New York Times, these are "the hardest-hitting, least hypothetical texts of Holzer's career."