For more than 30 years, Jenny Holzer’s work has paired text and installation to examine emotional and societal realities. Her choice of forms and media brings a sensate experience to the contradictory voices, opinions, and attitudes that shape everyday life. The 1990s heralded a turn in Holzer’s practice toward greater visual and environmental presence. In this exhibition, which centers on her work from the mid-1990s to the present, Holzer joins political bravura with formal beauty, sensitivity, and power.

The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Smith, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs at the MCA. It is accompanied by a publication with essays by Smith and other authors and will tour the United States and Europe.

NOTE: Main floor galleries contain works with bright, flashing lights.

Projection Works by Jenny Holzer
In conjunction with the exhibition, Jenny Holzer presents, for the first time in Chicago, a series of temporary outdoor projection works. Texts selected by Holzer, who is renowned for her compelling use of language in public space, are projected on the facade of the MCA on three nights (Oct 29–31). Three other projections take place on landmark Chicago buildings (Nov 1–3) including the Lyric Opera and Riverside Plaza, the Tribune Tower, and Merchandise Mart.

The projected texts were a selection of poems by Wislawa Szymborska. From View with a Grain of Sand: “Could Have,” “In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself,” “Tortures,” “The End and the Beginning,” “Children of Our Age,” “Parting with a View,” and “The Joy of Writing.”
Copyright © 1993 by Wisława Szymborska, English translation by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh. Copyright © 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, reprinted by permission of the publisher.
From Poems, New and Collected: 1957-1997: “Some People” Copyright by Wisława Szymborska, English translation by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh. Copyright © 1998 by Harcourt, Inc., reprinted by permission of the publisher.


With the launch of this website, the MCA has created a platform for archiving and publishing images and stories from our 50-year history. Though many exhibition pages currently lack descriptions or illustrations, we’re committed to a program of ongoing research that will fill in the blanks over time. If you have information about past MCA exhibitions to share, we’d be delighted to hear from you.