Protect me from what I want

I was thinking about Jenny Holzer yesterday. Of course, I can never remember her name. I have to try to remember one of those pithy little statements and search for them. So today I looked them up and found an extensive, perhaps complete, list of Jenny Holzer’s truisms.

I remember the first time I saw anything by her. It was a 7th grade trip to Washington DC and I was one of a few kids who opted to go to the Hirshhorn instead of the Air&Space museum in the afternoon, and I somehow wandered off alone into a little side room and there were these marble plaques and benches with words carved into them. Things that seemed true and deep and also vaguely disturbing: “TEASING PEOPLE SEXUALLY CAN HAVE UGLY CONSEQUENCES.”

And then, behind me, in a corner, a monitor came to life and started playing Laurie Anderson’s video of “O Superman.” To this day it’s one of the best art experiences I have ever had. It’s why I keep going back to contemporary art museums looking for things that will shake me and make me shiver.

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