Untitled (C-4)
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

When she was selected to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale of 1990, Jenny Holzer was the first American woman to be so honored. Her installation in the American Pavilion comprised five rooms housing marble floor tiles, benches, and LED signs, all bearing the pithy phrases about sex, death, and war that had already become easily identifiable as Holzer’s work. The words that scroll across the sign on display here, in English and Italian, are drawn from two earlier series by Holzer, Truisms (1977–79) and Inflammatory Essays (1979–82), which she deployed on cheaply printed placards and stickers that she posted on walls and bus stops around New York, as well as on t-shirts and other ephemera. Based on the success of those works, Holzer moved on to billboards and LED panels such as this one. A pioneer among postmodernist artists, she uses tools borrowed from advertising—the ubiquitous American form of communication—to deliver messages that challenge our most basic assumptions about contemporary culture.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2014.200
People
Jenny Holzer, American (Gallipolis, Ohio born 1950)
Title
Untitled (C-4)
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture
Date
1990
Culture
American
Location
Level 0, Room 0006, Lower Level Lobby
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Horizontal electronic LED sign (three color diodes)
Dimensions
24.1 x 447 x 11.4 cm (9 1/2 x 176 x 4 1/2 in.)
Provenance
Jenny Holzer, created 1990, sold; through [Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York] to; Ignace Van Den Abeele, Belgium. Florizoone, Belgium. [Cheim & Read, New York], sold; to Arnold and Mildred Glimcher, New York, gift; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2014.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of the Glimcher Family Collection in Memory of Dr. Melvin J. Glimcher
Copyright
© Jenny Holzer
Accession Year
2014
Object Number
2014.200
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Cate McQuaid, Contemporary art in the foreground at Harvard Art Museums, The Boston Globe (Boston, MA, November 1, 2014)

Exhibition History

Larger Than Life: Women Artists Making It Big, Susquehanna Art Museum, 06/02/2003 - 08/31/2003

Logical Conclusions: 40 Years of Rule-Based Art, Pace Wildenstein (25th St.), New York, 02/18/2005 - 03/26/2005

32Q: 1010 Prescott Street Entrance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu