Discovering Sometimes Just Means Looking Closer

I recently found out that Jenny Holzer, an artist who I find very intriguing, gutsy and inspiring, will be visiting USC soon. Her work basically consists of phrases that have been projected onto buildings and various other locations around the world, including the Guggenheim museum in New York. She’s also created advertisements, posters and LED signs.

The blurb for the event also mentioned she has a work at USC in front of the USC Fisher Museum of Art.

Wait, what?! How have I NOT seen this work? I’ve been on campus SO many times.

I stole some time before work to peruse the front of the museum and was still baffled until a little more searching on my iTouch and walking around revealed this…

Holzer’s piece is entitled “Blacklist” and has a rich background behind it.

These aren’t just small, cute benches to sit on. The work is actually all these benches plus the steps leading up to them plus the writing on the floor around them. There was a group called the First Amendment/Blacklist Project committee, made up of faculty from the Cinema school, that was formed to shed light on struggles with the government regarding creativity and civil liberties. The circle is made up of ten benches, each with a quote from a member of the “Hollywood Ten,” a group of filmmakers who the government called in the late 1940s out for supposedly having rebellious political beliefs. The filmmakers, however, refused to testify against themselves which led to their imprisonment and being placed on a ‘blacklist,’ a list that made it impossible for them to get a job in the entertainment business. The First Amendment/Blacklist Project committee, therefore, decided to commission a work of art that would keep this event from getting lost in history.

Even if you’re not overly political, the work as a work of art itself is very intriguing.

Basically, there is a circle of benches with four identical little entrances to the cluster of benches. These entrances are made  up of steps, each step holding one or two quotes from people involved in the movie industry.

The benches themselves have quotes on the top of them…

and the sides have the name of the person who said the quote…

And around the benches, there is text wrapping around in a circular way…

Amazing! I’ve walked around here so many times and never even noticed it!

So the next time you’re around somewhere you’ve been dozens of times, look closer… maybe you’ll find something new and singularly captivating.

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2 responses to “Discovering Sometimes Just Means Looking Closer

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