Barbara Kruger, Belief+Doubt, 2012, Installation view, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC. Photo by Cathy Carver. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers.
For more than 40 years, Barbara Kruger (b. 1945 in Newark, NJ) has been a consistent, critical observer of contemporary culture. In the early 1980s, Kruger perfected a signature style of words and images extracted from mass media and recomposed into memorable, graphic artworks. Her iconic works, such as Untitled (I shop therefore I am), 1987, and Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989, combine cropped, black-and-white photographic images with provocative short texts printed on solid colored bars. Often these works address viewers directly with personal pronouns—like “you” and “me”—while confounding clear notions of who is speaking. Kruger’s prodigious work has come to represent debates on women’s rights, identity, consumerism, and capitalism raging since the 80s. Rigorously composed, her works have occupied a range of media and spaces, including walls, billboards, video projections, and an array of consumer products. Since the 1990s, Kruger has also created large-scale installations of her text-based art, transforming lobbies, elevators, and buildings with her signature aesthetic and pointed content. Continuing in this vein, Kruger will create a brand-new work for the ICA that speaks, as her work has done for more than four decades, to contemporary social and political dynamics.