PRINT April 2003

’80s THEN

Jenny Holzer

STEVEN HENRY MADOFF: I’m sorry, I’m just stuck in the present here for a moment. I mean, what your “Truisms” series makes me think about now is the swirl of confusion and anxiety around terrorism. Don’t you think the “Truisms,” with all their weird thoughts and different voices, have an eerie resemblance to what’s going on in our heads today?

JENNY HOLZER: Well, the work with multiple voices from the late ’70s and early ’80s—the “Truisms” and the “Essays,” for example—looks hopeful to me. I presented the voices more or less simultaneously, and weighted evenly, to suggest that the thoughts were true to somebody. It seemed like a comprehensive and clean way to present belief systems, since I wasn’t choosing. I wanted to avoid polarization. Then a young artist pointed out that contemplation is fine when there’s no crisis, but when there is a crisis, you may have to come down on one side or

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