how to recognize it at a glance
Addresses the viewer directly and in a fairly
aggressive manner, whether with words,
images, or a combination of the two.
Violates social norms, crossing implicit
boundaries of politeness and decency.
Presents dissenting views of the dominant
culture, including the perspectives of cultural
Is composed of unconventional “non-art”
materials as often as traditional artistic media.
Is large in size.
Expands beyond the confines of a single object
to become a larger environment.
May not even be an object at all but more of an
experience, situation, or interaction.
Shouts more often than whispers, using
command, question, surprise, shock, or attack.
Jenny Holzer, Abuse of Power Comes As No Surprise (Truisms)
Times Square Spectacolor Board, 1982
Click on this link for documentary footage on the Times Square signboard
Airplane Banner Truisms
For New York City
Oct.26 - Nov. 7 2004
Photo: Charlie Samuels
Jenny Holzer, Abuse of Power Comes
As No Surprise, printed on a T-shirt
Click for MoMA
catalogue entry on
the Truisms series.
Holzer had a retrospective (Jenny
Holzer: PROTECT PROTECT) at
the Museum of Contemporary
Art, Chicago in 2008-9 that then
travelled to the Whitney
Museum of American Art, NYC,
Roberta Smith, “Sounding the
Alarm, in Words and Light,”
March 13, 2009
Damage is done by the tacit understanding…, 1981, from the Living Series
text on cast bronze plaque
Barbara Kruger, poster design for the Abortion Rights March, 1989
Read the Guggenheim’s account
of Kruger’s career and artistic
Richard Hamilton, What Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? 1956
Read about this collage, measuring only 9.75 x 10.25
Why did words become so
important in the art of Holzer
What became possible within
visual art by including words?
And, where did this idea
come from? Are there art