Home Magazine Contemporary Art and the 2020 US Elections

2020 US Elections were probably the most exciting time in the whole year. More than ever, people understood how important it was to get out and voice their concerns over a vote. Jenny Holzer is proof that contemporary art is vital to empower people to act on their beliefs.

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Jenny Holzer is a widely known text-based, conceptual contemporary artist. Her work features strong and bold statements about  different subjects related to politics, society and feminism. Holzer artworks often appear in the most unexpected places you can imagine finding art. In a sense, Jenny Holzer can be considered an Urban artist herself as she often challenges the institution as the place to see her work (A focus on Jenny Holzer's path).


Jenny Holzer, “Abuse of Power Comes As No Surprise” from the series Truisms T-shirts, 1980-, worn by Lady Pink © 1983 Lisa Kahane, NYC. Courtesy TATE.


Her latest works have intentionally preceded the 2020 US election, occurred on the 3rd of November, to which she mobilized the viewers to vote. Holzer’s work was considered to be very neutral in terms of choosing a side to vote. The artist intentions were to demonstrate all generations the importance of each individual’s vote in a democracy and how every voice should be heard to encourage significant changes. 

Jenny Holzer's artworks were displayed on the streets in some critical states as Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania encouraging political engagement though voter empowerment. These empowering messages took the form of LED vehicles, light projections, billboards, T-shirts, and social media activations spreading messages of social inequality, climate change, gender, race, immigration and gun control. The artist statements were really bright in the sense that Holzer played with fundamental keywords for democracy, such as ‘truth’ and ‘government accountability’ to proliferate her perspective. 


Jenny Holzer, “Vote Your Future”, 2020. Courtesy Detroit News.


Jenny Holzer, “YOUVOTE”, 2020. Courtesy  Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts.


The outcome

Jenny Holzer certainly has had a positive impact on the 2020 elections with the highest rate of voters ever in history. Independently if the chosen president was a good option or not, 2020 US elections will mark history forever. Holzer has been voicing her political concerns for the 2020 election for quite a while now, which demonstrates how impactful contemporary art can be to encourage people to fight for the changes they believe the country needs.


Jenny Holzer, “TRUISMS”, 1984. Courtesy  TATE.


Cover image: Jenny Holzer, “Vote Your Future”, 2020. Courtesy Detroit News.

Written by Tania Teixeira

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