“Money Creates Taste”, functionally, is a glass paperweight. It incorporates one of Jenny Holzer’s “Truisms” (1977-79), which she wrote to resemble existing truisms, maxims, and clichés. Each Truism distills difficult and contentious ideas into a seemingly straightforward fact. Privileging no single viewpoint, the “Truisms” examine the social construction of beliefs, mores, and truths all while questioning issues of fact, narrative and viewpoint.
The “Truisms” first were shown on anonymous street posters that were wheat-pasted throughout downtown Manhattan, and subsequently have appeared on T-shirts, hats, electronic signs, stone floors, projections and benches, among other supports. As for this specific piece, the words are etched in glass and get warped as one looks at them. This visual alteration of the words gives a viewer a sense that the statement is not quite “true”. Furthermore, looking at the form of a paperweight, the text is actually meant to hold things down, which is not always a good thing.
For more than forty years, Jenny Holzer has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions, including 7 World Trade Center, the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Her medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, a plaque, or an LED sign, is writing, and the public dimension is integral to the delivery of her work. Starting in the 1970s with the New York City posters, and continuing through her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, her practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humor, kindness, and courage. Holzer received the Leone d’Oro at the Venice Biennale in 1990, the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award in 1996, and the Barnard Medal of Distinction in 2011. She holds honorary degrees from Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, The New School, and Smith College. She lives and works in New York.