n 1945, Newark, NJ
Studied at Syracuse University and Parsons School of Design
Lives and works in New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA
The large, bold artworks of Barbara Kruger assimilate images taken from the deluge of mass media in contemporary society. Pictures and words derived from television, film, newspapers and magazines comprise the media's powerful ability to communicate. Using these same media effects and strategies in a critical way, Kruger creates her own sexual, social and political messages, effectively challenging the stereotypical ways the mass media influences society's notions about gender roles, socials relationships and political issues.
The work Untitled (your body is a battleground), 1989, exemplifies Kruger's interest in addressing and interpreting heated political issues of the moment. Using a silkscreened frontal photograph of a model's face, the artist gives the image additional meaning by dividing the large canvas it occupies into sections from right to left, the image reverses from positive to negative, and from top to bottom, the face is divided into thirds emblazoned with the slogan "Your body is a battleground." Kruger critiques the objectified standard of symmetry applied in modern times to feminine beauty and perpetuated at fever pitch by media and advertising. The composition originally included more text and was designed as a poster for the massive pro-choice march that took place on April 9, 1989, in Washington, D.C.
Untitled (If you’re so successful, why do you feel like a fake), 1987, is a point blank interrogation of a contemporary society motivated by career building, money and the appearance of success and good living. The notion that such a society is unfulfilled and inauthentic is taken as self-evident, and Kruger’s assertive display demands an answer from viewers. Unlike advertising which may ask a question to compel a product purchase, Kruger uses the same technique to compel ethical change and reflection.