Jenny Holzer. Truisms. (1994)
Jenny Holzer

Truisms

(1994)
Not on view
Medium
Postcard series of screenprints on balsa wood
Dimensions
sheet (each): 3 1/2 x 5 1/2" (8.9 x 14 cm)
Publisher
the artist, New York
Fabricator
Vandercraft, Prinville, Oregon
Edition
unlimited
Credit
Gift of Dan Redmon
Object number
SC641.1998.1-7
Copyright
© 2015 Jenny Holzer/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Drawings and Prints

A Conceptual and installation artist who became known in New York City in 1977 for inexpensively printed and anonymously posted sheets of text known as Truisms, Jenny Holzer utilizes words as the primary medium and content of her art. Her signature style is marked by the extreme brevity and concision of statements she appropriates from diverse sources or makes up, as well as by the immediacy of her bold, "no-nonsense" fonts.

Although Holzer's first works employed the commercial technique of photolithography and appeared on telephone booths and walls around the city, she has since reissued the same or similar pithy, ironic, and acerbic declarations, observations, and aphorisms in a variety of formats and has placed them in countless venues. Co-opting strategies commonly used by businesses to advertise or sell merchandise, Holzer issues printed products such as pencils, decals, coffee mugs, T-shirts, golf balls, and baseball caps, thus making her art more widely accessible. While her first truisms read like a litany of claims, listed alphabetically in groups of forty to sixty on sheets of paper, her printing of single messages on such multiples enables the "consumer" to select specific points of view to own, display, or wear. This interactive aspect of Holzer's work was also evident in the early posted truisms on which passersby often wrote responses.

Holzer's concern with reaching a large and broad audience and with capturing the viewer's attention is also evident in her projects using LED (light emitting diode) lights in public spaces such as Times Square. Since the 1990s, she has expanded her technological repertoire to include Xenon projections that reach buildings from a distance, multimedia installations, three-dimensional LED displays, web projects, and videos for MTV. Recurring themes of violence, war, sex, power, and money reveal Holzer's deep, enduring concern with social issues.

Publication excerpt from Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 243

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Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource

Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource