Jenny Holzer explores gun violence in a new public artwork at Rockefeller Center

October 10, 2019

Projection at Rockefeller Center. For The City © 2005 Jenny Holzer, courtesy of Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Artist Jenny Holzer—known for her practice of displaying text in the public sphere—is partnering with Creative Time for the third time on a new public art project at Rockefeller Center. VIGIL is a series of light projections addressing gun violence in America through first-hand accounts, poems, and responses by Americans who have had to reckon with the everyday reality of gun violence. The words will be beamed across the iconic Midtown destination each night from October 10 to 12 beginning at 8 p.m.

The central idea behind the large-scale work is to essentially magnify each voice through the scrolling letters of light. The light itself can be seen as a vigil for victims and an acknowledgment of the regularity with which these incidents continue to occur. According to a press release, “Holzer included selected texts from Bullets into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, stories from Moments that Survive, collected by Everytown for Gun Safety, and poems by teens growing up in a nation affected by shootings in their communities and schools.”

“Jenny Holzer has been an innovator in the field of public art. It is an honor to work with her to realize this project, addressing one of the most pressing issues we have today as a nation,” said Creative Time Executive Director Justine Ludwig in a statement. “Her work amplifies the words of those directly affected and brings a personal perspective to staggering statistics.”

In 2004, Holzer worked with Creative Time to present a two-part project, For New York City: Planes and Projections and For the City, which included nighttime projections on sites like 30 Rockefeller Plaza.


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