From Thursday, October 10 through Saturday October 12, Rockefeller Center will host a new outdoor art installation by renowned artist Jenny Holzer. Holzer will be using the occasion to mount her latest piece, Vigil, which will project monumental blocks of text that will illuminate the iconic, art deco facades of Rockefeller Center’s buildings.
Vigil will address the devastating impact of gun violence in the United States through reflections by poets and survivors of shootings. Holzer has borrowed text from sources such as Bullets into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, and Moments that Survive, a collection of poetry by teens who are growing up and attending school with the ever-present danger of getting wounded or killed during class.
Over her extensive career, Holzer has deployed texts in public spaces, beginning in the 1970s with a series of flyers posted around downtown neighborhoods such as Soho and Tribeca (that is, when both were primarily home to artists). She shot to fame with digital light-emitting diode (LED) signboards that displayed piquant observations on human psychology and the nature of power along with other socially and politically pointed comments. She was the official representative of the United States for the 1990 Venice Biennale, and her other major exhibits have included a installation that filled the rotunda of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, as well as a career survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
While this presentation marks the first time that Vigil is being shown, it isn’t Holzer's first foray at Rockefeller Center: In 2005, 30 Rockefeller Center served as one of a number of sites for a citywide project that comprised, among other things, a formation of airplanes flying above the Hudson while towing banners that featured Holzer’s texts.
You can see Vigil starting at 8pm on each night of its two-day run.