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A horizontal electric LED sign with three color diodes for different colors of text.

The sign streams words in English and Italian are drawn from two earlier series by Holzer in the form of advertising slogans. The text includes scorn sweetness, scorn exaltation, limit time, vomit the merry.

Gallery Text

When she was selected to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale of 1990, Jenny Holzer was the first American woman to be so honored. Her installation in the American Pavilion comprised five rooms housing marble floor tiles, benches, and LED signs, all bearing the pithy phrases about sex, death, and war that had already become easily identifiable as Holzer’s work. The words that scroll across the sign on display here, in English and Italian, are drawn from two earlier series by Holzer, Truisms (1977–79) and Inflammatory Essays (1979–82), which she deployed on cheaply printed placards and stickers that she posted on walls and bus stops around New York, as well as on t-shirts and other ephemera. Based on the success of those works, Holzer moved on to billboards and LED panels such as this one. A pioneer among postmodernist artists, she