Size: 9 x 9 inches
“There were manifestos in the window; printed tirades on the right-hand side of the room; visual manifestos—things that looked more like art—on the left; a platform for shouting in the middle; and we blasted speeches from a loud-speaker outside.” — Jenny Holzer
Gallery 98 is fortunate to have recently acquired a collection of early Jenny Holzer items from 1979-82, a fertile period when Holzer first developed important aspects of her art. These were also the years when Holzer was an active participant in Collaborative Projects Inc. (COLAB), an artist’s group, that like Holzer, shared an interest in creating art that was connected to contemporary social discourse, and that reached broad, popular audiences.
One COLAB activity were the theme exhibitions in which all COLAB members participated. In 1979 Holzer, and fellow COLAB member Coleen Fitzgibbon, organized the Manifesto Show, an exhibition where artists expressed their thoughts and opinions, much like Holzer had done with the Truisms posters she wheat-pasted anonymously on downtown streets in 1978. Holzer also participated in COLAB’s biggest theme exhibition, The Times Square Show of 1980. This exhibition included a “gift store” where Holzer sold packaged posters printed on color paper as part of a COLAB effort to make art available at popular prices.
Around 1980, Holzer was incredibly prolific in her writing, as well as in the many different ways that she distributed her messages. Memorable Inflammatory rants like “Don’t Talk Down To Me. Don’t Be Polite To Me. Don’t Try To Make Me Feel Nice” reached large non-art audiences through posters, stickers and books. All of these early works can easily be dated because they were laboriously laid out by Holzer using handset Letraset, resulting in irregularities not found in her later typeset work.
See more Holzer ephemera on our Jenny Holzer artist page
Black Book cover
First page of 26 pages of text
Size: 7 x 7 inches
Holzer’s Black Book was self-published in either 1979 or 1980 and includes her Inflammatory Essays. It was likely available in the gift shop at the Times Square Show.
These two posters are in the original polyurethane bag with a hand-lettered sticker that Holzer used for items she placed in COLAB gift shops. It is uncertain whether this comes from the store at the Times Square Show (June 1980) or from the A More Store that opened in Soho in late November, 1980.
Size: 2.5 x 3 inches and 2.75 x 3 inches (vary in size)
These stickers feature aphorisms from Holzer’s Survival Series, which she began in 1983. Over the years, the size of her stickers changed. These small stickers are thought to be her first. The text is typeset.