Jenny Holzer was born on July 29, 1950, in Gallipolis, Ohio. In 1972 she graduated in painting and printmaking from Ohio University and started an M.F.A. program at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence in 1975. During this period she started integrating written words and language into her work. She finished her degree in 1977 and moved to New York, where she enrolled in a study program organized by the Whitney Museum. It was there that she made her Truisms series, which were her first works solely comprising text. She had the words printed on sheets of paper and either distributed them as fliers or posted them anonymously around the city.

Holzer’s work tries to reformulate many assumptions made by traditional forms of art, especially in the context of public spaces. Writing is still the basis of her creative process, whether it is used singularly or combined with other modes of representation ranging from installations to xenon projections. Her texts are written on electronic signs; printed on posters and T-shirts; engraved on sandstone benches, marble floors, and granite sarcophagi; or cast onto bronze or silver plaques. Her words also appear on billboards, in newspapers, and over the Internet and have been projected onto the facades of buildings, hillsides, or liquid surfaces via laser or xenon projections.

Holzer’s projects have been presented in museums all over the world, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1989; the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in 1996; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1997; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 1999; the Oslo Museum of Contemporary Art, in 2000; and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, in 2001. In 1990 she was invited to show at the Venice Biennale and was awarded the Leone d’Oro for the best national pavilion. She won the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum in 1996 and the Berlin Prize Fellowship of the Berlin American Academy in 2000. Jenny Holzer lives and works in Hoosick, New York.