On March 8, 2020, International Women’s Day was the closing day of a special exhibition at the Alte Nationalgalerie here in Berlin. Called Fighting for Visibility: Women Artists in the Nationalgalerie before 1919, the show explores visibility for women artists.
To make it more evident, Jenny Holzer’s Men Don’t Protect You Anymore was placed in a prominent space in the Kolonnadenhof.
Men Don’t Protect You Anymore by Jenny Holzer consists of a small aluminum plaque, no more than 75 by 255 mm. That bears the words. Men Don’t Protect You Anymore on an empty pedestal.
This artwork is part of a series created by Jenny Holzer from 1983 to 1985. It comments on gender and the debate on the visibility of women artists.
This is the first time a woman has any artwork presented at the Kolonnadenhof, also known as the Colonnade Courtyard, in front of the Alte Nationalgalerie.
The museum has invited contemporary artists to create artworks there for the last ten years. But the Kolonnadenhof has been a staple of art in Berlin for a long time. Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the architect of the first museum on the Museumsinsel, first imagined the area.
And in 1880, the courtyard garden was designed by Eduard Neide, the Tiergarten director. It’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the rest of Museum Island.
Men Don’t Protect You Anymore by Jenny Holzer.
Born in 1950, Jenny Holzer has been experimenting with language in public spaces since the 1970s. Her series, “Truisms,” is composed of thought-provoking one-liners originally designed as posters in New York and distributed around town. Through time, she took over more space, such as Times Square, with her statements as billboards.
Her work has been featured at the Alte Nationalgalerie since 2001, with a light installation designed for the museum.
When I first saw that empty pedestal on the Kolonnadenhof, I wasn’t sure what the idea behind it was. But once I read the text, I understood the concept behind Jenny Holzer’s artwork.
I knew the best thing I could do would be to document it with pictures and write something about it so more people could learn about her artwork.
Men Don’t Protect You Anymore by Jenny Holzer