JENNY HOLZER, Survival Sticker Series
Closing Date10 January 2020
We’re ringing in the New Year with a series of stickers by Jenny Holzer, a very early iteration of her Survival series. The works are on display in our current exhibition, "By/Buy Me," curated by David Platzker, running through 25 January.
Jenny Holzer’s Survival series began as part of a guerrilla stickering campaign in 1983. An expansion of her "truisms" and Inflammatory Essays, Holzer continues to explore word as medium through sentences highlighting the absurdity of everyday life. Phrases like "FINDING EXTREME PLEASURE WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON IF YOU'RE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT THRILLS YOU" and "SAVOR KINDNESS BECAUSE CRUELTY IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE LATER" reveal the contemporary world to be painful, shocking, and somewhat humorous all at once. At the time, these stickers could be found throughout the city, from subway cars to sign posts. In the years to follow, she presented her art on a grand scale, placing her "truisms" on electronic billboards and projecting them onto buildings.
In a 1989 New York Times Magazine profile, Holzer expressed the need to deliver her art to the everyday person-- she explains, "My legacy from growing up in the 60's is that I want to make art that's understandable, has some relevance and importance to almost anyone. And once I've made the stuff, the idea is get it out to the people. I want them to encounter it in different ways, find it on the street, in electric signs and so forth. I like fooling with different presentations and modes. I like to make it turn purple and go upside down." By taking her work beyond the confines of the institution, Holzer reveals that the value of her art lies not in exclusivity. Rather, her work is grounded in its expanded means of display, be it through a large-scale public installation or a commonplace sticker, found in a seemingly mundane location.
These stickers are three of nine we have on display in "By/Buy Me."