125 Years (2003) – Jenny Holzer

I came across this familiar piece while browsing https://www.associationforpublicart.org/, a catalogue of public art in Philadelphia, for inspiration for project 4. You may recognize this piece from the walkway outside of New College House, but, like me, may not have taken the time to read what’s written on the granite borders and benches. I was surprised to learn that this piece was done by Jenny Holzer, an artist known for her use of language as public art, whose work I had seen on social media but never thought I’d see myself, let alone so regularly. The piece features quotations from female Penn graduates, celebrating 125 years since Penn started admitting women, and was installed in 2003. I think this is an excellent example of a permanent installation, art so public you hardly think of it as art or of its intention. The Association for Public Art also lists the bells outside of Domus, which were constructed by Dennis Oppenheim, the statues outside of Van Pelt, and the big red sculpture by the high rises (the colloquial name of which I am excluding). Browsing this site helped me to recognize the art that surrounds us every day, which we may not appreciate in the hustle and bustle of navigating college life. While I won’t make any promises, I would like to make an effort to appreciate these pieces just a little more while working on project 4.

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