20 Inflammatory Essays - Documenta Set, 1982


Twenty offset lithographs

17.00 x 17.00 in

43.2 x 43.2 cm

Detailed condition report by request


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    About The Work

     Holzer's iconic "Inflammatory Essays", produced between 1979 and 1982, were first pasted on walls throughout heavily populated metro areas including New York and other cities. Unsigned and commercially produced they subverted the conventions of both advertising, graffiti and public art.

    The texts were derived from her childhood interest in rapturous writings. Holzer tried to emulate a similar style for her essays, yet borrowed from from political theorists (notably Mao, Lenin, Goldman), anarchists and religious fanatics.

    The essays shift between multiple viewpoints and do not reflect Holzer’s own views, but rather overall themes and styles taken from her inspirations. The essay's tones are declarative, aggressive, urgent, and menacing. 

    Each essay (one per sheet) contains exactly 100 words in 20 lines of text. The rigidity of this contained format is juxtaposed against the extreme content exploding from the essay. It is worth emphasizing that these texts were frequently pasted on walls alongside or even covering conventional street advertising. 

    Between 1979-1982, Holzer pasted her “Inflammatory Essays” posters around heavily-populated areas of New York City. Each essay was in a different eye-catching color to maximize viewers attention. It was also helpful when one Essay replaced an older one.  

    Over the course of Holzer's career, the artist has continued to revisit the content and affect of the "Inflammatory Essays" and as such they are like cornerstone of her practice.  

    Courtesy of Caviar20

    About Jenny Holzer

    From The Magazine

    • Very good condition Note: Essays were photographed in plastic protective sleeves

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