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Jenny Holzer, It Is Guns 2018
Jenny Holzer, IT IS GUNS (2018)courtesy of Instagram/@jennyholzerstudio

Jenny Holzer’s new art project is based on gun violence testimonies

Among poetry, the words of survivors and family members will be projected onto the Rockefeller Center

Jenny Holzer, multimedia artist and a master of messaging, has spent decades proving that she can cut through the noise – right now there’s a lot of noise. This makes her projects more important than ever and her newest will tackle gun violence in the US.

A series of projections onto the Rockefeller Center in New York will draw from the testimonies of those affected by gun violence. It’s a collaboration between Holzer and the public art non-profit Creative Time, which will run from 8pm on October 10, 11, and 12.

The texts will incorporate words from survivors, family members of shooting victims, a poetry collection (Bullets into Bells) and words from the advocacy group Everytown.

It isn’t the first time Holzer has made a comment on gun violence – IT IS GUNS (2018) saw her drive black trucks printed with text around US cities, and her similar projection-based work at Desert X was only halted by sick sheep – but it is a particularly urgent project.

In fact, Holzer and Creative Time formed the project in less than eight weeks, following mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. (It says a lot that mass shootings have taken another 12 lives in the interim.)

As for why Holzer was chosen to highlight the issue, Justine Ludwig, Creative Time’s executive director, puts it well: “We want to move away from numbers and statistics that can be numbing and bring forth the voices of those most affected by this issue,” she tells Artnet.

“It’s about presenting a very personal perspective about what this massive issue in the US has wrought.”