Photo via Amazon.

Pop Quiz: Who Said It, Jenny Holzer or Dr. Bronner's Soap?

This game is surprisingly hard.

by Emma Specter
|
Aug 6 2019, 5:27pm

Photo via Amazon.

If you've ever sauntered through Hauser & Wirth on a Sunday, or even just stopped by Uniqlo, you need no introduction to American neo-conceptual artist Jenny Holzer. If your weekend routine only takes you as far as Whole Foods, you likely don't need a refresher on Dr. Bronner's, the liquid soap that gives new meaning to the term "cult favorite."

(Seriously, if you don't know the soap's history, let me just share a few key details: its inventor, Emanuel Bronner, narrowly escaped the Nazi takeover of Germany and felt “urgently called upon” to help people realize their “transcendent unity” in its aftermath. In the 1940s, a man allegedly willingly crucified himself for "Dr. Bronner's Peace Plan." Normal stuff. )

The connection between Jenny Holzer's light-infused text art and Dr. Bronner's soap might feel tenuous, but they're linked by a common strand of intensity. Where Holzer's feminist and anti-capitalist philosophy expresses itself through brief phrases telegraphed everywhere from retrospective shows to Times Square, Dr. Bronner's legacy of "All-One sermons" is contained primarily to the soap's website—and, of course, to the fine print on its signature monochromatic bottles. The artist and soapmaker's philosophies are inherently political, stripped-down, and self-explanatory, but can you tell the difference between them?

A. TURN SOFT AND LOVELY ANYTIME YOU HAVE THE CHANCE

B. IF IT'S NOT FOR ME, WHO AM I? NOBODY!

C. EACH SWALLOW WORKS HARD TO BE A PERFECT PILOT

D. AT TIMES INACTIVITY IS PREFERABLE TO MINDLESS FUNCTIONING

E. DEVIANTS ARE SACRIFICED TO INCREASE GROUP SOLIDARITY

F. FREE SPEECH IS MAN'S ONLY WEAPON AGAINST HALF-TRUTH

G. EACH DAY, LIKE A BIRD, PERFECT THYSELF FIRST

H. DILUTE! DILUTE! OK!

Answer key below, no cheating!

________________________________

A, D, E: Holzer

B, C, F, G, H: Dr. Bronner's