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Artists Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger Photo

Barbara Kruger

American Designer, Graphic Artist, and Photographer

Movements and Styles: Conceptual Art, Feminist Art, Postmodernism

Born: January 26, 1945 - Newark, New Jersey

Barbara Kruger Timeline

Quotes

"I have no complaints, except for the world."
Barbara Kruger
"Direct address has been a consistent tactic in my work, regardless of the medium that I'm working in."
Barbara Kruger
"Although my art work was heavily informed by my design work on a formal and visual level, as regards meaning and content the two practices parted ways."
Barbara Kruger
"Perhaps the problem is one of implicitness, that what is needed is, again, an alteration, not only called 'from primary to secondary', but from implicit to explicit, from inference to declaration."
Barbara Kruger
"I'm fascinated with the difference between supposedly private and supposedly public and I try to engage the issue of what it means to live in a society that's seemingly shock-proof, yet still is compelled to exercise secrecy."
Barbara Kruger

"Do you know why language manifests itself the way it does in my work? It's because I understand short attention spans."

Synopsis

Barbara Kruger is best known for her silkscreen prints where she placed a direct and concise caption across the surface of a found photograph. Her prints from the 1980s cleverly encapsulated the era of "Reaganomics" with tongue-in-cheek satire; especially in a work like (Untitled) I shop therefore I am (1987), ironically adopted by the mall generation as their mantra. As Kruger's career progressed, her work expanded to include site-specific installations as well as video and audio works, all the while maintaining a firm basis in social, cultural, and political critique. Since the 1990s, she has also returned to magazine design, incorporating her confrontational phrases and images into a wholly different realm from the art world. Associated with postmodern Feminist art as well as Conceptual art, Kruger combines tactics like appropriation with her characteristic wit and direct commentary in order to communicate with the viewer and encourage the interrogation of contemporary circumstances.

Key Ideas

The economy of Kruger's use of image and text facilitates a direct communication with the viewer. Within a short declarative statement, she synthesizes a critique about society, the economy, politics, gender, and culture.
Kruger merges the slick facade of graphic design with unexpected phrases in order to catch the viewer's attention using the language of contemporary publications, grapic design, or magazines. Rather than attempting to sell a product, her works aim to sell an idea to the viewer that is meant to instigate a reconsideration of one's immediate context.
Kruger appropriates images from their original context in magazines and sets them as the background against which she emblazons confrontational phrases. From her use of clearly legible font to her jarring palette of red, white, and black, each element of the final artwork is crucial to its effectiveness as both an artistic expression and a protest against facets of postmodern life.

Biography

Barbara Kruger Photo

Childhood

Barbara Kruger was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1945. Her mother was a legal secretary and her father a chemical technician. An only child, Kruger attended Weequahic High School in Newark, and enjoyed what was by all accounts a typical middle-class upbringing. She was accepted to Syracuse University as an undergraduate, where she enrolled in a number of art and design classes. After only one year at Syracuse, Kruger moved to New York City to take more advanced art and design classes at the Parsons School of Design.

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Barbara Kruger Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Barbara Kruger
Interactive chart with Barbara Kruger's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

John BaldessariJohn Baldessari
Joseph BeuysJoseph Beuys
Bruce NaumanBruce Nauman
Andy WarholAndy Warhol

Personal Contacts

Diane ArbusDiane Arbus

Movements

Modern PhotographyModern Photography
FluxusFluxus
Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Feminist MovementFeminist Movement

Influences on Artist
Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger
Years Worked: Years
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Jenny HolzerJenny Holzer
Cindy ShermanCindy Sherman
Sherrie LevineSherrie Levine
Shepard FaireyShepard Fairey
Richard PrinceRichard Prince

Personal Contacts

Ross BlecknerRoss Bleckner
Catherine OpieCatherine Opie

Movements

Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Feminist MovementFeminist Movement

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Justin Wolf

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Justin Wolf
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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