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Deeper Look: Jenny Holzer Lustmord Table

  • Jenny Holzer

  • On view through at least 2018

Two works, each:
Lustmord Table, 1994
Human bones, engraved silver bands, wooden table

Location: East Gallery

In 1993, at the invitation of the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, the Sunday magazine of one of Germany’s largest daily newspapers, Jenny Holzer created a series titled Lustmord, prompted by the war in former Yugoslavia where sexual violence against women and girls was used as a strategy and weapon. Taking its title from a German word for “sexually motivated murder,” Lustmord treats sexual violence in its ubiquitous manifestations. It represents these acts from the perspectives of perpetrators, victims, and observers.

For the magazine, texts were hand-printed on the skin of women and men and photographed in close-up.
Lustmord also has been programmed for electronic signs. Later, for the Lustmord Tables, like the two on view at MASS MoCA, the text was engraved on silver bands encircling human bones, which were placed on worn wooden tables.

The bones are ethically sourced and have been obtained through legitimate suppliers of decommissioned medical samples and teaching materials, such as articulated skeletons.