Barbara Krueger: “Anyone who is shocked by what is happening does not notice it”

fNew creators can claim the Museum of Talk art and Rage Against the Machine as fans and contributors. But it’s the unifying force of the 77-year-old conceptual artist Barbara Krueger’s work: it’s direct, powerful and, as her team of imitators proves, it also looks great on a T-shirt.

Known for his iconic lyrics that proclaim “I Shop So I Am” and “Your Body is a Battleground” – the latter was revived last spring as a Burning cover of New York magazine’s The Artist Is Always Humble. She told The Guardian: “I think no work of art is as beautiful and astonishing and wonderful and magnificent, or as unsuccessful, absurd, terrible and small as it is written.” “All accusations, judgments, investigations and hyperbolic beliefs are as symptomatic as the business you are dealing with.”

Kruger, who first gained widespread recognition for his banners for the Washington Women’s March on Legal Abortion, has tirelessly been a hero of reproductive freedoms for more than four decades. Her work is known for challenging societal notions of beauty, identity, social structures, and how we perceive our own power (or lack thereof) within societal structures. With the Supreme Court’s latest move to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that disrupted the constitutional right to abortion in the United States, Kruger’s art has never been more important. Even though this confession is bittersweet.

The first thing you hear when you step into David Zwirner in Chelsea, New York, is the metal jingle from a fire-powered typewriter. As part of an immersive installation and a larger, self-titled presentation of Kruger, the sound roars and breaks the calm that usually encapsulates the crisp white space. But the art on display is just as significant as the cacophony of cacophony exploding within its massive walls. The exhibition is a homecoming for the Los Angeles-based East Coast pioneer, whose collage work and text-based, anti-capitalist multimedia have helped define U.S. activist aesthetics for nearly half a century.

Barbara Krueger, Untitled (crew), 2016/2020. Photo: Lent by the artist

The most comprehensive individual exhibition in Zwirner’s history, the exhibition shows ecclesiastical and new works and coincides with Kruger’s extensive, site-specific installation – Barbara Krueger: Thinking of You. I mean myself. I mean, see you at the Maroon Family Lobby in MOMA, New York, on July 16th. Also this month is coming to an end lakma Tribute to Krueger and education shown in Sprüth Magers From the early guerrilla groups “Plijmen”.

“My work is rarely event- or event-related, but it tries to comment on the ways we build and slow down cultures,” she says, commenting on the timing of the shows. “I have always said that I try to work on how we interact with each other. I see this as an ongoing project. ” Krueger, who began his career in the design department at Condé Nast in the 1960s, learned early on the power of word and image and the immediacy of elevator visual presentation as an image-based call to action. In the decades since, her works have taken on a life of their own, made cameos in movies and “inspired” the black and white and red Supreme logo, sparking a legendary war in the Hypebeast where Kruger has revealed his imitators. as “A ridiculous bunch of not-so-cool jokes”.

For the exhibition at Zwirner, classic works have been rethought through a digital facelift using video and audio, LED maintenance and smart adjustments. For example, in Pledge, Will, Vow (1988/2020) – also included in the 59th Venice Biennale – excerpts from the Pledge of Allegiance to High Impact were written and recreated on screen, alluding to the feeling that our current story is by being edited and rewritten and sometimes completely ignored by an unknown hand.

“Most of Zwirner’s work consists of film installations made and recreated over the past three years,” Krueger explains. “All of these things responded to the specific architecture and built environment they contained,” she continued, noting that she participated in the challenges of locating her work. Although these fixtures are difficult to make, which Kruger still sponsors, they feel very privileged. “I feel privileged to have these wonderful opportunities to work in these places. I never take it for granted because what is seen and what becomes prominent is often cruelly random,” she says, noting that some artists exaggerate a result. The historical circumstances, the brutality of social relations, the narrowing of ‘categories’ and the often fleeting whims of the mercury-like art market. “I greatly appreciate the current vision of my work and welcome it, as I approach my centenary. “

Installation scene, Barbara Krueger, David Zwirner,
Installation scene, Barbara Krueger, David Zwirner. Photo: Keri McFate / David Zwirner

For her latest action, Kroger, who enveloped Kim Kardashian’s infamous naked body with her signature Futura line. On the cover of W magazine, about how celebrities, technology and social media shape our attention and consumption patterns. Picture / text works try to show and tell stories about body and mind. How they might be portrayed and how they see themselves, she says. “In this time of massive clashes between voyeurism, narcissism and rapid attention, I feel very involved in self-presentations and social media headlines. Where millions of us are charmed, coveted, worshiped and ashamed of these images.”

Meanwhile, her street work has gained a new dramatic presence, with the Krogers imitator appearing on banners and billboards at abortion protests across the country. It will be easy for the less humble artist to feel the need to claim ownership. “As someone who never thought anyone would know my name or my work, it’s amazing, satisfying and disturbing, and it can only happen at a time when the speed of image dissemination is accelerating,” she says of the dissemination of Pictures. work, “and terrible when the spread of plague, war, and discontent spread severely.”

In the end, Kruger’s art excels when it allows the viewer to change his point of view, which is often overlooked or misrepresented. “My work has consistently focused on the weakness of the body. How power is governed by cultures. About how hierarchies and capital design determine who lives and who dies, who gets kissed and who gets beaten, who gets praised and who gets punished. ” she explains.

Installation scene, Barbara Krueger, David Zwirner,
Installation scene, Barbara Krueger, David Zwirner. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / David Zwerner

What does the artist think of the latter? line, has lyrics selected for those who follow it. “Roe’s cancellation should come as no surprise,” she warned. “Anyone who was shocked by what happened was not paying attention,” she says, referring to the United States’ history of suppressing minority rights and promoting white supremacy. Any surprise in the current situation is the result of lack of imagination. not to understand the power and the punishment for what happened, and even worse, what comes after. “

Instead of being shy, you hope to build a community. “More than ever, it’s important to compete at the same time in race, gender and class,” she says. “Not to separate these questions, their silos, and their hierarchical arrangement, but to know the connection between the forces that define what it feels like to live another day. It hurts, heals, nourishes, or destroys.”

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