Museo Correr

    War Paintings

    Until November 22, 2015

Museo Correr

JENNY HOLZER. War Paintings | Exhibition


War Paintings

from May 7 to November 22, 2015
Venice, Museo Correr – Four Doors Room


In cooperation with the Written Art Foundation of Frankfurt, Germany, under the scientific coordination of Gabriella Belli, the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by the American conceptual artist Jenny Holzer.

A collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale, the Correr show will open on May 7, 2015 and remain on view through November 22, 2015. The works on exhibit at Museo Correr have been selected from a decade of the artist’s war paintings, a significant departure from the LED installations for which Holzer is best known. Curated by Dr. Thomas Kellein, a special catalogue will be published in collaboration with the artist.

The exhibition takes as its starting point declassified and other sensitive U.S. government documents concerning the global War on Terror that followed the events of September 11, 2001, as well as the United States military operations in Afghanistan an Iraq. Holzer’s paintings are drawn from memoranda, planning maps, diplomatic communiqués, interrogation records, autopsy reports, and the handwritten cri de coer of detainees themselves – which prior to release to the public, the censor heavily redacted.

The transformation of documents into ravishing silk-screened and hand-painted oil on linen paintings (several times their original size) invites the visitor both to read and to look. Critics have compared Holzer’s painted work to Andy Warhol’s early 1960s Death and Disaster series, the works of Russian Suprematist Kazimir Malevich, Abstract Expressionism, the “dust writing” of Arabic calligraphy, and even the anonymous street posters that began Holzer’s carrer with her hope they might provoke thoughtful discussion and lively public debate.

As Holzer explained her decision to begin painting a decade ago, in an interview with Stuart Jeffries of the Guardian: “I wanted to show time and care. I wanted it to be human”. Adding that although she feels “the material speaks for itself…having torture seemingly normalized is, I don’t think, a positive thing.

Holzer’s work was first shown in Venice as the official entry of the United States at the 44th Biennale, where it was awarded the Golden Lion. In addition to Holzer’s participation in the 1990 Biennale, in 1999, five evenings of prejections were presented at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore; and in 2003, projections were realized on the Grand Canal facades of the Palazzo Corner and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Three of Holzer’s Benches are part of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum’s permanent collection, where they may be found in the garden.

The artist lives and works in New York.

Admission with Museo Correr times, St. Mark’s Square ticket and with the ticket of the exhibition



Produced with the support of The Written Art Foundation,Francoforte sul Meno
Curated by Thomas Kellein
Scientific direction: Gabriella Belli