Modern Art Oxford presents a monumental solo exhibition of new and recent work by internationally acclaimed artist, Barbara Kruger.
The exhibition comprises a site-specific architectural wrap of Modern Art Oxford’s iconic Upper gallery, alongside an installation of classic 1980s paste-up works and a major film presentation in the John Piper Gallery.
With a career spanning over four decades, Kruger’s instantly recognizable work combines bold lettering, colours and dramatic juxtapositions of text and image, to investigate the machinations of power in popular culture today.
Through ironic appropriation of specific slogans and imagery, Kruger deploys the visual strategies of mass communication in order to challenge the often manipulative logic at work in the language of advertising, television and other media and the role of Western consumerist culture.
Barbara Kruger’s career has spanned over 40 years. Known internationally for her iconic and provocative body of work, including the work, I Shop Therefore I Am (1987), among other text work, she has exhibited in museums and public spaces worldwide and is included in numerous collections of contemporary art around the world. She was awarded the Life Time Achievement Medal at the Venice Biennale in 2005.
Through ironic appropriation of specific slogans and imagery, Kruger deploys the visual strategies of mass media in order to challenge the often manipulative logic at work in the language of advertising, television and other media.
This is most evident in Kruger’s careful skewing of familiar idioms to generate aphorisms, which range from the metaphysical to more overtly political statements. The artist has described her interest in popular culture, citing influences such as film, magazines and reality television as a useful measure of contemporary conceptions of value and materialism.
Born in Newark (1945) she now lives in New York and Los Angeles. After attending the School of Visual Arts at Syracuse University, she went on to study Art and Design with Diane Arbus at Parson’s School of Design in New York.
Barbara Kruger’s iconic red and black text and image works, where fragments of images are overlaid with short phrases or captions, owe much to her early career in graphic design and art direction at Condé Nast Publications, in particular the leading fashion title Mademoiselle magazine where she was promoted to lead designer.
Addressing issues of language and sign, Kruger has often been grouped with such feminist postmodern artists as Jenny Holzer, Sherrie Levine, and Cindy Sherman. Like Holzer and Sherman, in particular, she uses the techniques of mass communication and advertising to explore gender and identity. Kruger is considered to be part of the Pictures Generation – the formal labeling of a group of artists known for their appropriation of images from a media saturated age.