Barbara Kruger

  • American conceptual/pop artist born in Newark, New Jersey in 1945. Attended Syracuse University. Developed an interest in graphic design, poetry, and writing.
  • Moved to New York to study at Parsons School of Design in 1965 studying with fellow artists/photographers Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel.
  • Her early artworks are large woven wall hangings of yarn, beads, sequins, feathers, and ribbons and exemplify the feminist recuperation of craft during this period.
  • In 1976 she moved to Berkley and attending the UoC immersed herself in the works of Roland Barthes and Walter Benjamin.
  • Took up photography in 1977. Her first works were series of architectural exteriors with her own text – musings about the lives of the inhabitants.
  • She challenges cultural assumptions by manipulating images and text in her photographic compositions. With a short declarative statement, she synthesizes a critique about society, the economy, politics, gender, and culture.
  • Best known for laying aggressively direct slogans over black -and – white photographs that she finds in magazines, Kruger developed a visual language that was strongly influenced by her early work as a graphic designer (at magazines including House and Garden , Mademoiselle, and Aperture).
  • The inclusion of personal pronouns in her works like those below implicates viewers by confounding any clear notion of who is speaking.
  • Informed by feminism, Kruger’s work critiques consumerism and material culture, and has appeared on billboards, bus cards, posters and in public parks, train station platforms, and other public spaces. In recent years, she has extended her practice, creating site-specific installations in galleries and museums comprised of vinyl lettering, video, film, audio, and projection.

Graphics by Barbara Kruger at Mashup Exhibition, Vancouver

Graphics by Barbara Kruger at the Mashup Exhibition, Vancouver

Reference List

Mashup: The Birth of Modern Culture – Early 20th Century Collage, Montage and Readymade [online] Vancouver Art Gallery. Available at: https://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/pdfs/MashUp%20Early%2020th%20Century%20Collage%20Montage%20and%20Readymade.pdf [Accessed 26 February, 2017]

The Art History Archive (n.d.) Barbara Kruger – Feminist Artist [online] The Art History Archive. Available at; http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/feminist/Barbara-Kruger.html [Accessed 26 February, 2017]

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