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Barbara Kruger (born 1945) is an American conceptual artist. She was
born in Newark, New Jersey and left there in 1964 to attend Syracuse
University. After a year at Syracuse, she moved to New York, where she
began attending Parsons School of Design. She studied with Diane Arbus
and Marvin Israel, who, as a graphic designer and art director for
Harper's Bazaar in the 1960s, introduced Kruger to photographers and
fashion/magazine sub-cultures. After a year at Parsons, Kruger left
school and started to work at Mademoiselle magazine as an entry-level
Much of Kruger's graphic work
consists of black-and-white photographs with overlaid captions set in
white-on-red Futura Bold Oblique. The phrases included in her work are
usually declarative, and make common use of such pronouns as "you," "I,"
"we," and "they." The juxtaposition of Kruger's imagery with text
containing criticism of sexism and misogyny and the circulation of power
within cultures is a recurring motif in the work.
For the past decade Kruger has
created installations of video, film, audio and projection. Enveloping
the viewer with the seductions of direct address, her work is
consistently about the kindnesses and brutalities of social life: about
how we are to one another.
"Kruger's works are direct and
evoke an immediate response. Usually her style involves the cropping of
a magazine or newspaper image enlarged in black and white. The
enlargement of the image is done as crudely as possible to monumental
proportions. A message is stenciled on the image, usually in white
letters against a background of red. The text and image are unrelated in
an effort to create anxiety by the audience that plays on the fears of
society." (Janson, p. 992).
In 2005 Kruger was honored at the 51st Venice Biennale with the "Golden
Lion" for Lifetime Achievement. Kruger is currently a professor at the
University of California at Los Angeles.
In 2007, Kruger was one of the
women artists to be a part of South Korea's Incheon Women Artists'
Biennale in Seoul. This marked South Korea's first women's biennial.