a white marble bench with words carved into it, sits on an expanse of brown low-pile carpet with a tall wooden railing behind

Jenny Holzer (American, born 1950)

Selections from Truisms: A Sense of Timing…, 1977–1979

Danby Imperial marble, 16 3/4 x 61 x 25 3/8 inches

Collection of Middlebury College Museum of Art, Vermont. Purchase of the Committee on Art in Public Places with funds provided by the Middlebury College Board of Trustees One Percent for Art Policy, 2001.004. Copyright © Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Location: Second floor of the Davis Family Library

Jenny Holzer is a multi-media artist whose pithy Truisms have been printed on posters, T-shirts, and LED (light-emitting diode) boards from Times Square to Tokyo. In addition to those seen here, some of the best known are “Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise” and “Lack of Charisma Can be Fatal.” One has only to look on the Internet to find a full sampling of her Truisms.

As would be suggested by the range of environments in which her work appears, Holzer believes that art should be comprehensible and relevant to a wide audience, not reserved specifically for museums and their public. She began to write her Truisms in the late 1970s, following an intensive period of reading canonical texts of both Eastern and Western traditions. While her writing and the variety of advertising techniques she uses to reach a broad public have led to controversy about the aesthetic status of her art, Holzer has nevertheless been commissioned by major international museums to design public spaces emblazoned with her signature texts.

This bench was made in Vermont and purchased by the Committee on Art in Public Places for installation in its present location.