- 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
Level 0, Room 0006, Lower Level Lobby
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- Physical Descriptions
- Horizontal electronic LED sign (three color diodes)
- 24.1 x 447 x 11.4 cm (9 1/2 x 176 x 4 1/2 in.)
- 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
- © Jenny Holzer / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Modern and Contemporary Art
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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, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
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