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Jenny Holzer began her celebrated “Truisms” series in her mid-twenties, after enrolling in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s renowned independent study program in 1977. At the time, Holzer was committed to becoming an abstract painter like Mark Rothko—but her artistic output shifted dramatically to text-based creations after the school’s tutor Ron Clark assigned students a hefty reading list. “He gave us a wonderful yet absolutely daunting reading list that, happily, I reacted against,” she recalled. “I reduced all the reading to one-liners.” With a rebellious spirit, Holzer printed her one-line summaries on white paper in bold, black, italicized capital letters and posted them across Manhattan. Over the coming years, Holzer’s “Truisms” expanded to include over 300 powerful slogans, such as “ROMANTIC LOVE WAS INVENTED TO MANIPULATE WOMEN,” “CATEGORIZING FEAR IS CALMING,” and “ABUSE OF POWER COMES AS NO SURPRISE.” Whether printed onto t-shirts, projected onto buildings, carved into …

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