Jenny Holzer is a New York-based artist who is well-known for her electronic LED signs and projections that incorporate statements, or what she calls truisms, such as “protect me from what I want” and “abuse of power comes as no surprise.” Since 1996, she has organized public light projections in cities worldwide, including a permanent installation at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, an installation in Berlin with historic German parliamentary text, an installation for a contemporary museum in Bordeaux, and the permanent installation in the lobby of Seven World Trade Center where she completed a 65-foot wide wall of light with poetry and prose by authors such as Walt Whitman and Elizabeth Bishop. She has received many awards and has had major exhibitions including the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1997), the Dia Art Foundation, New York (1989) and the Guggenheim Museum, New York (1989). She was the first woman to represent the United States in the 1990 Venice Biennale.
Ms. Holzer was selected by the Steering Committee to create a project for the Transbay Transit Center because of the content of her work as revealed through the text and her use of light within an architectural context. Jenny Holzer’s design for the Transit Center includes a scrolling LED text that wraps around the elliptical glass enclosure that encircles the Grand Hall light column on the mezzanine level. Using text content specific to the San Francisco Bay Area and California, the LED installation is 11 feet in height, adding a striking artistic element to the visual complexity of the architecture. The LED text is also a prominent feature on the bus deck level, where it illuminates the platform environment and mezzanine railings. Her work has a significant visual impact and is a focal point for arriving and departing visitors. Holzer derived her text from historical archives such as the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library, writings from authors who wrote about the Bay Area, documents and records pertaining to the construction of the Bay Bridge and original Transbay Terminal as well as some of her own writings and phrases.
The artwork is also be viewable outside the building. It is anticipated that this installation has made the TTC a destination for art patrons and culture-lovers. This is Jenny Holzer’s first public art commission in San Francisco.