Public Manifestos

The Big Idea:

How does the meaning and impact of an artwork change when it is made public?

Activity overview

Jenny Holzer posted her Truisms in the New York subway from 1977 to 1979. In this activity you will learn how artists' statements are written and published for the world to see. Taking inspiration from Holzer, you will write your own manifesto, make it public, observe the response, and reflect on the process.

Look closely

Click on each artist button at right to view detailed screens about the artist and his or her works. Be sure to click on all images, view all videos, read all documents and use the zoom tool to look closely at the works of art.

In this activity you will:

  1. discover Jenny Holzer and her methods of creating art
  2. write your own one-line manifesto
  3. make it public and observe people's reactions
  4. reflect on the response to your manifesto

You will be graded on:

  1. research notes from Making Sense of Modern Art
  2. creativity, style, and use of language in manifesto
  3. observation notes
  4. participation in class discussion
  5. written reflection

New terms:

manifesto, public art