"In Inflammatory Essays" (1979-82) Jenny Holzer wrote texts that were influenced by major political figures such as Emma Goldman, Mao Tse-Tung, and Vladimir Lenin. Inflammatory Essays were pasted on walls as posters throughout heavily populated areas of the city.
"The Survival Series" (started in 1983) is a set of aggressive phrases meant to propel the passive viewer into an act of questioning. Slogans such as, "The beginning of the war will be secret," "The future is stupid," and "Men don't protect you anymore," were printed on stickers that were widely distributed by hand to a common audience meant as a form of propaganda.
Barbara Kruger was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1945 Kruger's work emerged in the late 1970s, in an era that developed ideologies now considered postmodern, when the idea of the author and originality were debated and artists began to appropriate and deconstruct images already in circulation. Plenty is being screened in three different high-traffic areas citywide. The first is installed on a video billboard on the top tier of LACMA West, visible from Fairfax and 6th Street. The video is also visible on two preexisting electronic billboards on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, screened in fragments between actual advertisements.
Cindy Sherman was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, in 1954. She emerged onto the New York scene in the early 1980s alongside post-feminism and punk, yet her language voiced through the medium of photography and self-portraiture was so unique that it defied categorization.
Louise Lawler was born in Bronxville, New York, in 1947.
Birdcalls, a sound piece from 1972/1981, mocked the inequity between male and female representation in the art market of the time. By recreating the phonetic pronunciation of the names of male artists as sounds that mimicked the cry of birds, Lawler transformed surnames synonymous with success into mating calls.
"Women in the City" restages Birdcalls at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino. The installation, normally shown in galleries or museums, is recontextualized within a natural environment where it is concealed by the institution that frames it. By deliberately displacing the installation within a simulated natural setting controlled by culture (such as a botanical garden), the work throws into question the power an artist retains when set outside of the museum.
Birdcalls (1972-81/2008) Sound installation at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino. Starting February 9, 2008 (check huntington.org for opening hours)