Jenny Holzer



In 1982 Jenny Holzer, who was at the beginning of her career, was invited to Toronto by A-Space to do one of her ground-breaking public "interventions".

The artist hired a few OCAD students, first in November 1982 and again in July 1983, to plaster these "Truism" sheets and her "Inflammatory Essays", around the city.

While her Truisms would gradually appear on an assortment of various consumers products (T-shirts, baseball caps etc.) and grander public presentations (a LED billboard in Times Square etc.) the early incarnations were modest, DIY in spirit, listing the Truisms in alphabetical order on inexpensive photostat paper and then plastered around New York City (and other locations).

Holzer had started her series of "Truisms" when still a student in 1977. She listed a mix of cliches, slogans and maxims - they vary from the wise, to the absurd or banal to the highly menacing:

Raise Boys and Girls the Same Way

Starvation is Nature's Way

There's Nothing Redeeming in Toil

Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise

As described by MoMA "She hand-typed numerous 'one-liners' or "Truisms", which she has likened, partly in jest, to a "Jenny Holzer's Reader's Digest version of Western and Eastern thought." 

This set, comprised of two sheets, listing 98 Truisms, was part of Holzer's Toronto intervention and rare surviving example of her early ephemeral/street art practice. 

Caviar20 is excited to offer this set of Truisms. They have been carefully stored for over 33 years by one of the students hired by Holzer to execute her Toronto "Truisms" intervention. 

To read more about Holzer's early "Truisms" in MoMA's permanent collection, click here. 

Unlike, the MoMA examples which total 86 lines, The Toronto "Truisms" contain 98 equally divided over the two sheets 

Click here to see another powerful Jenny Holzer work. 

Questions about this artwork? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720



34.5"H 22"W (aprox. each sheet)

35"H 24"W (each, framed)

Detailed condition report by request

Sold as a pair

(Note: sold framed for $3,600 USD)

- Where does the inventory ship from?
Our inventory is divided between New York and Toronto. 

- Where do you ship to?
We can ship anywhere. Typically when we ship within North America we prefer to use FedEx or DHL. To Europe, Asia and beyond we generally use DHL. 

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For shipments within North America, we typically charge a flat rate fee. Many items on our site will list the rate. For shipping outside of North America, we can easily provide a quote and will look for the most efficient and economical option.

Most of the items on our site can be easily shipped internationally.

Occasionally we will recommend that an artwork be removed from its frame for shipping. Larger framed works are typically framed with plexiglass. We export over 80% of what we sell, so we are comfortable shipping anywhere. 

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When a work is valued above $2,500 usd there is a possibility of tax of 0.35%, but this is applied sporadically. There can similarly be an additional fee for customs brokerage and this can range from $20 - $65. US Taxes, duties and customs brokerage are not included in our flat rate shipping. However most of our shipments to the US enter without any additional fees. 

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Yes, we guarantee everything we sell. We can provide both a digital and printed version of our certificate of authenticity. 

What is your return policy?
- Caviar20 wants you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase. We have a 7 day no-questions full refund return policy for your purchase. Shipping charges are non-refundable. Return shipping is the responsibility of the customer. After 8 days returns are given a credit note. There is no expiration for our credit notes.

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Discounted material must be paid by wire transfer, or with Paypal (if funds are sent as 'friends and family'). There is a 3.5% administration fee for credit cards on discounted material. 

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