‘Truth is powerful and will prevail.’ Go vote.

Arts and sports worlds team up to get people to the polls on election day in "You Vote" project

YOU VOTE 2020 Mural Text: Sojourner Truth Installation: Madison, Wisconsin, USA, 2020 © 2020 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY Photo: Jim Escalante

Artwork by internationally acclaimed artist Jenny Holzer has a place in the permanent collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, but over the past month, anyone walking around Milwaukee or Madison has been privy to the works of the New York artist famous for using conversation-provoking illuminated text. Her signs have appeared in various locations around the two Wisconsin cities — as well as locations in four other swing states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina. 

Happy? Provided by YOU VOTE 2020 by Jenny Holzer www.youvote.vote
“Enough” billboard in Milwaukee.
Provided by YOU VOTE 2020 by Jenny Holzer www.youvote.vote

The message — in all locations — boils down to a basic nonpartisan instruction: Go vote.

YOU VOTE 2020
Photo provided: © 2020 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

It’s a part of Holzer’s You Vote project getting out the message about the importance of voting, issue awareness and empowerment. The artwork is appearing in a variety of different mediums tied to the arts, academia and sports worlds.

There is a mural on the MMoCA art museum window, trucks carrying LED messages, light projections, murals, billboards, posters, theater marquees, social media and more. The Madison locations also include city utility boxes and banners on the Park Street and Campus Drive bridges — with original text from UW-Madison First Wave scholars.

In Wisconsin the partners include the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, the Milwaukee Bucks & Fiserv Forum, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Madison Arts Commission and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The animations on the Fiserv began last week featuring quotes from Milwaukee Bucks players in a partnership with Bucks Vote, a team initiative that began in August.

The digital installation at the Fiserv used the following quotes from Bucks’ players broadcast in their own voices:

George Hill: “We need to come together and embrace our fundamental right to vote. To fight suppression, injustice and for equality, we must first make the choice of who we want to represent us in office by exercising that right.”

Wesley Matthews: “Our future, our children’s future and their children’s future is what WE make it! VOTE!”

Marvin Williams: “You VOTE to be heard. You VOTE for change. You VOTE for your future. VOTE!!”

Robin Lopez:  “Cast votes, not aspersions.”

YOU VOTE 2020
Jenny Holzer
Videographer : Chris Sato
George Hill and Robin Lopez quotes
Fiserv Forum

The Detroit Pistons are also participating. 

The UW-Madison Division of Arts First Wave scholars, who are from underrepresented groups on campus, are also putting together a film based on their responses to Jenny Holzer’s work that includes Hip Hop, spoken word poetry, dance and other performances they are doing in front of the various installations.

Vote - Majestic Theatre message on marquee
YOU VOTE 2020
Marquee
Installation: Madison, Wisconsin, USA
© 2020 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Photo: Christopher Dilts

And the marquee billboard takeover is happening at four Madison locations: Four marquees including the the Barrymore Theater, the Orpheum Theater, the

Sylvee Theater and the Majestic Theater. Text found on those four marquees include Stacey Abrams quotes: “Demand fairness wherever it can be found” and “Voting will not save us from harm but silence will damn us all.” 

'Voter empathy, No voter apathy' on the Barrymore Marquee Theatre | Erik Gunn Wisconsin Examiner
‘Voter empathy, No voter apathy’ on the Barrymore Marquee Theatre | Erik Gunn Wisconsin Examiner

And the large-scale mural at MMoCA features a quote by abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth: “Truth is powerful and will prevail.”

YOU VOTE 2020 Mural
Text: Sojourner Truth
Installation: Madison, Wisconsin, USA, 2020
© 2020 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Photo: Jim Escalante

 

 

Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.