Jenny Holzer Lights Up Rockefeller Center in Tribute to PEN America’s 100 Years Defending Free Expression




Speech Itself by Jenny Holzer at Rockefeller Center courtesy Rockefeller Center

On five nights in September, the renowned artist Jenny Holzer will celebrate PEN America’s century-long defense of the written word and the fundamental rights that make free expression possible with a powerful new series of light projections that will illuminate three buildings in Manhattan’s iconic Rockefeller Center.

Starting after sunset at 8pm on Wednesday, Sept. 14, and continuing until 10pm each evening through Sunday, Sept. 18, the facades of 30 Rockefeller Plaza and 610 and 620 Fifth Avenue will be lit with selected passages from writers and artists who have supported PEN America’s work to protect free expression.

The outdoor installation, titled SPEECH ITSELF, will include quotes from more than 60 authors in a visual tribute to the cherished freedoms to write, read, and speak. Among those whose words will be projected are Ayad Akhtar, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Margaret Atwood, Ron Chernow, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Joy Harjo, Jhumpa Lahiri, Yoon Ha Lee, Toni Morrison, and Alejandro Zambra.

Artist Jenny Holzer will be lighting up Rockefeller Center with her installation ‘Speech Itself’ in tribute to PEN America’s 100 years of defending free expression. This public artwork will be shown every evening from September 14-18 from 8:00 to 10:00pm.

In addition, works by Jenny Holzer will be on view from September 8 through October 29, 2022 at Hauser & Wirth, 542 West 22nd Street, NYC.