Have you ever heard a quote and thought ‘wow, that’s so true’? Jenny Holzer aims to captivate exactly that reaction with her art. This Neo- Conceptual artist has captivated her audience with what she calls ‘Truisims’ that often convey contradictory messages. These phrases touch on subject matters of feminist thinking, religion, politics, power, sex and all things controversial.
CRACK THE PELVIS SO SHE LIES RIGHT, THIS IS A MISTAKE. WHEN SHE DIES YOU CANNOT REPEAT THE ACT
Truisim displaying the idea of male dominance and their control of women
I first discovered Holzer on a trip to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Displayed there is her piece entitled IT TAKES A WHILE BEFORE YOU CAN STEP OVER INERT BODIES, consistent of twenty- eight granite benches with phrases inscribed in them.
My personal favorite?, ‘WHEN YOU ARE ON THE VERGE OF DETERMINING THAT YOU DON’T LIKE SOMEONE IT’S AWFUL WHEN HE SMILES AND HIS TEETH LOOK ABSOLUTELY EVEN AND FALSE’
Holzer truly is an example of what James C Kaufman and Ronald A. Beghetto would call an eminent creative or Big- C creative. Jenny Holzer was chosen to represent the United States in the Italy's Venice Biennale as their first female artist in 1989 and one the most prestigious that year of the Golden Lion. As part of her piece, Holzer sold hats, posters, and T- shirts displaying her Truisims in various languages. Since then she has received worldwide praise and recognition for her provocative and captivating work, signs Kaufman and Beghetto would agree make her a true Big- C creative.
But before entering into the rank of a Big- C creative, Holzer was a Pro- C creative. After moving to New York to pursue her career as an artist, Holzer printed her Truisms anonymously on simple white paper in black italicized script and post then on buildings, posters, and telephone booths. She then asked her audience to scribble any works or phrases her Truisims evoked and would then wait to hear the conversation that followed. The Public Arts Fund program realized her talent and funded her next piece of artwork, an L.E.D machine that would flash her words on buildings located in heavily populated places such as in Times Square, Washington, D.C., and the Guggenheim Museum. Her continuing popularity and recognition caused her to move from the realm of a Pro- C creative to a Big- C creative.
Kaufman, James C., & Beghetto, Ronald A. (2009). Beyond Big and Little: The Four C Model of Creativity.