Jenny Holzer - New Now New York Wednesday, February 27, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Hoffman Borman Gallery, Los Angeles
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1989

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Hoffman Borman Gallery, Jenny Holzer, March 11 - April 9, 1988
    New York, Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Jenny Holzer: Benches, June 1, 1989 - January 31, 1990 (another example exhibited)
    New York, Skarstedt Gallery, Jenny Holzer: Retro, November 4 - December 18, 2010, no. 13, p. 61 (another example exhibited and illustrated, cover and pp. 32-33)
    New York, City Hall Park, Common Ground, May 24 - November 30, 2012 (another example exhibited)
    Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Jenny Holzer, May 28, 2017 - present (another example exhibited)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Top: “All things are delicately interconnected / anger or hate can be a useful motivating force / boredom makes you do crazy things / categorizing fear is calming / crime against property is relatively unimportant / disgust is the appropriate response to most situations / expiring for love is beautiful but stupid / freedom is a luxury not a necessity / grass roots agitation is the only hope / holding back protects your vital energies / low expectations are good protection / raise boys and girls the same way / random mating is good for debunking sex myths / recluses always get weak / you are the past present and future”
    Side 1: “Manual labor can be refreshing and wholesome / monomania is a prerequisite of success”
    Side 2: “People who go crazy are too sensitive / sometimes science advances faster than it should”
    End 1: “Starvation is nature’s way”
    End 2: “Words tend to be inadequate”

    “I wanted a lot simultaneously: to leave art outside for the public, to be a painter of mysterious yet ordered works, to be explicit but not didactic, to find the right subjects, to transform spaces, to disorient and transfix people, to offer up beauty, to be funny and never lie.” – Jenny Holzer

    Standing authoritatively and honestly, Truisms: All things are delicately interconnected..., 1987, expertly embodies Jenny Holzer’s artistic practice. Shortly after moving to New York City, Holzer worked nearly exclusively on her acclaimed Truisms series from 1977-1979, marking a turning point in the artist’s career. This body of work is a conglomeration of blunt stream-of-consciousness declarations that touch upon an array of provocative themes such as feminism, violence, oppression, and vulnerability. Candidly professed from an anonymous and universal perspective, the artist’s Truisms poetically reveal one’s most intimate, and at times irreverent, thoughts.

    By design, the organization and clarity of Holzer’s work invites personal reflection and comprehension by its viewers without requiring art historical expertise. Originating as black and white posters, the artist’s Truisms were initially presented as everyday objects to engage the wandering eye of a passer-by. Holzer’s phrases are viewed as powerful and assertive, physically breaking the barriers of a traditional art setting. Several editions of her benches have been shown in public outdoor exhibitions and commingle with the surrounding environment, further reinforcing the direct engagement with the viewer that has been a central tenet of her practice since the beginning.

    Holzer’s stone benches are at once intimidatingly stoic, while also readily welcoming. The present lot features a selection of Truisms that cover the entirety of the object allowing viewers to meander around and absorb the piece in its unique totality. Holzer imbues equal significance with her chosen media as she does with her content. The sleek marble of the present lot resembles a commemorative monument, and thus lends her engraved words a particular gravitas.

    Whether substantial or nonsensical, Holzer's Truisms are presented with authority and permanence. Assertions such as “disgust is the appropriate response to most situations” may resonate with particular spectators, while others may chuckle at its perturbed cynicism. Uniting playful language with enduring material, and personal truths with an impersonal presentation, Truisms: All things are delicately interconnected... speaks genuinely to Jenny Holzer’s creative ambitions as an artist.

  • Artist Biography

    Jenny Holzer

    American • 1950

    Jenny Holzer is a Conceptual artist best known for her text-based public art projects. Holzer's work speaks of violence, oppression, sexuality, feminism, power, war and death. Throughout the years, Holzer has employed a variety of media, from a T-shirt to a plaque to an LED sign. Starting in the 1970s with the New York City posters, and continuing through her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, she uses her art as a form of communication and commentary. Holzer's art hangs in important collections around the globe including 7 World Trade Center, the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao and the Whitney Museum of American Art. 

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Truisms: All things are delicately interconnected...

Royal Danby marble bench
17 x 54 x 25 in. (43.2 x 137.2 x 63.5 cm.)
Executed in 1987, this work is number 1 from an edition of 3.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $312,500

Contact Specialist
Sam Mansour
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1219

New Now

New York Auction 27 February 2019