Untitled ('Truisms' series, spectacolor board, Times Square)
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Untitled (Spectacolor Board, Times Square) is an example of Jenny Holzer’s 'Truisms,' a series of one-liners that comment on social issues and are pulled from, well, everywhere.

Some of them you may agree with like “torture is barbaric.” Others, like “morals are for little people,” you will probably disagree with. Holzer wasn’t trying to get everyone on board with every single one of her statements and she wasn’t trying to make a new Bible or anything. She was more just trying to gauge a reaction and let people “see them, read them, laugh at them, and be provoked by them.” She explains that, ''it's fun wandering around other people's minds. In the 'Truisms,' I wanted to write cliches and I was successful. You only have a few seconds to catch people, so you can't do long, reasoned arguments. The 'Truisms' don't make value judgments, but they express truth for their original speakers. I wanted the viewer to make his way through them and maybe gain some tolerance.” So if you think about it, viewers are actually a part of the work in a sort of lab rat kind of way. But this isn’t super unusual. The art world has a way of making rats out of us all on a relatively consistent basis. Kinda just something you have to get used to.

But Jenny Holzer opens up the cage from museums to the entirety of New York City. Holzer displayed her Truisms on LED screens in Times Square and watched the city react. She also put them on a bunch of pieces of paper and put them up all over the city, a crime for which she was only arrested once. The cops soon figured that she wasn’t worth their time or the carwash that would be needed because she was covered in wheat paste and let her go. Fond mems for Holzer, which she highly recommends to all aspiring artists out there. She’s definitely a cool mom.




  1. "Jenny Holzer. Truisms. 1978-87 | Moma." The Museum of Modern Art. Web. 10 Oct. 2017.
  2. Glueck, Grace. "And Now, A Few Words From Jenny Holzer." N.p., 1989. Web. 10 Oct. 2017.
  3. Sokol, Brett. "Taking It To The Street With Jenny Holzer." N.p., 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2017.
  4. "Jenny Holzer. Torture Is Barbaric From The Series Truisms Golf Balls. (1994-) | Moma." The Museum of Modern Art. Web. 10 Oct. 2017.