Jenny Holzer's "Memorandum for Condoleezza Rice Green" on view at the Everson Museum, 401 Harrison St., from April 4, coinciding with the sixth annual Fine Arts & Flowers Weekend. Gallery and Museum Shop open Tuesday-Friday & Sunday: noon to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. everson.org or 474.6064. Lunchtime gallery talk on Jenny Holzer with senior curator Debora Ryan on Tuesday, April 22 at noon.
Jenny Holzer's 'Memorandum' on view from April 4:
The first thing you notice about Jenny Holzer's "Memorandum for Condoleezza Rice Green" is that its picture doesn't do it justice. Since the 1970s Holzer has been producing distinctive and very public art based on text that has employed photographic documentation -- often striking in itself -- because of where she's placed it and its often passing nature: stickers, T-shirts, billboards, the Times Square Jumbutron and Las Vegas Caesar's Palace, 42nd Street movie theater marquees, nighttime light projections on buildings, the sides of ships and even bodies of water, and scrolling electronic light LED installations. But this new work -- one of a series of 32 oil-on-linen silk screen paintings first exhibited in New York and published as "Redaction Paintings" in 2006 -- is something you want to see in person. When you do, you might have to go back two, even three times, it is that commanding.
For one thing, its green -- like sunlight through leaves -- is far more vivid, more sheerly pleasurable, in person. Then the experience of reading this enormously enlarged, once secret text sinks in -- a declassified and censored letter from the National Security Council's Richard A. Clarke, dated some eight months before Sept. 11, 2001 in which he outlines the serious threat of "al Qida." It is at once "exacting and lovely"- one part of what Holzer said, during the PBS "Art 21" interview that broadcast last November, that she aims for -- the other part being a hoped-for "recoil" among viewers.