Rene Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist best known for his depiction of ordinary objects in unusual contexts in order to create witty, thought-provoking images or challenge the viewer's perception of reality. He left school (the Academie des Beaux-Art in Brussels) at an early age, shortly after the loss of his mother to suicide, a loss to which Magritte's play with reality and illusion in his work has often been attributed. His earliest paintings reflect impressionism and cubism, and it wasn't until his late 50s that he began to receive recognition for his surrealist works. During World War II he supported himself through forgery, creating fake Picassos, Braques and Chiricos and later expanding to the printing of forged banknotes. After the war, however, he would pursue surrealist styles and themes, most of which focused on illusionistic, dream-like qualities and the poetic use of symbols. His work, which would see an increase in popularity in the 1960s, would go on to influence pop, minimalist and conceptual art after his death in 1967.


Jenny Holzer is an American neo-conceptual artist, based in New York, who belongs to the feminist branch of artists that emerged around 1980. Her work focuses on the delivery of words and ideas in public spaces. In the 1970s, she studied art at Duke University and the University of Chicago before moving to Manhattan and joining the independent study group wherein she would create her first and best-known public works, Truisms (1977-79), pictured in the last photo above. Truisms were displayed in storefronts, on outdoor walls and billboards, and in digital displays in museums, galleries, and in other public places, such as Times Square in New York. The artist's goal was to provoke a response from her audience, in which she was successful as the one liners were read and responded to by the public.

Holzer often utilizes the rhetoric of modern information systems to communicate her work, as her main concern is to bring to light something thought meant to remain hidden.


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