6. Barnard has a Famous Provocative Bench!

On the Barnard lawn there is a marble bench—the Jenny Holzer sculpture—that is engraved with provocative statements, such as “Stupid people shouldn’t breed,” “An elite is inevitable,” “Push yourself to the limit as often as possible, ”and “It’s crucial to have an active fantasy life.” Jenny Holzer is an award-winning American conceptual artist who focuses on the use of words and ideas in public spaces. She created the bench in 1987 and entitled it: SELECTION FROM TRUISMS (Abuse of power comes…).

This bench is part of Holzer’s “Truisms…” series which consists of statements and aphorisms (“truisms”) in various materials, such as silk-screened paintings of declassified government memoranda detailing prisoner abuse. Thus, the bench serves as Barnard’s first major piece of artwork and is a world-class, provocative sculpture that is aligned with Barnard’s mission to educate women to think and speak out.