American Conceptual Artist Barbara Kruger Probes Your Views

Barbara Kruger juxtaposes mass media photographs with biting slogans. Her art both questions and condemns mass media’s ways of control self-identity, desire, and public opinion.

In their trademark black letters against red background, her slogans are instantly recognizable. Much of her often razor-sharp text questions the viewer about feminism, classicism, consumerism, and individual autonomy and desire, although her black-and-white images are taken from the popular magazines that promote the very ideas that Barbara Kruger is disputing. Examples are: “Your body is a battleground” and “You are not Yourself”.

Besides showing around the world in museums & galleries, Kruger’s work has appeared on billboards, t-shirts, bus cards, posters, a public park, a train station platform in Strasbourg, France, and in other public commissions.

“Distinctively feminist in orientation, the work also examines how gender difference is reinforced through media presentation. Traditionally, women have been displayed in film and advertising as objects of desire for the male viewer. The exception occurs when women are targeted by the media as consumers; only then do they become subjects, but merely as patrons of desirable images of themselves.”

“Kruger brings the issue of gender identification into question through her ambiguous use of the neutral pronouns “I,” “you,” and “we” in her phrases, such as the following: YOUR GAZE HITS THE SIDE OF MY FACE; YOU MAKE HISTORY WHEN YOU DO BUSINESS; YOU INVEST IN THE DIVINITY OF THE MASTERPIECE; WHEN I HEAR THE WORD CULTURE, I TAKE OUT MY CHECKBOOK. ” 2)

After Syracuse School of Visual Arts and Parson’s School of Design, Kruger commenced a career in graphic design, working on magazines like, Mademoiselle, House and Garden, Aperture, and other publications. This background in design is evident in the work for which she is now internationally renowned.

Born 1945, Newark, New York, USA. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles and New York. She has taught at the California Institute of Art, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of California, Berkeley.

2) Nancy Spector at


  1. Pissed Off Artists Allegedly Urinate on Kruger Art

    A group of artist protesters calling themselves “The
    Infinity Lab” were arrested Thursday after witnesses
    reported acts of vandalism on the new Barbara Kruger
    Installation commissioned by University of California
    San Diego’s Stuart Collection.

    The protesters chanted, “Another formulaic Kruger”,
    as one of them allegedly urinated on the
    installation’s floor text. Campus police arrested the
    3 protesters as they continued to mock the

    Thursday’s protest may have inspired another
    disturbing act of vandalism this time reported at Los
    Angeles County Museum of Art on Friday. Apparently, a
    protester threw bags of fecal matter at Kruger’s mural
    in the Eli Broad Collection.

    Due to the two acts, there is elevated security
    around all of Barbara Kruger’s public artworks. So
    far, Kruger has not been available for comment.

  2. Thanks Judy for your contribution.

    We can only hope that we can ALL have such influential artwork as Kruger.

  3. Katherine Sweetman says

    They were detained but not arrested.
    The protest was for Barbara Kruger in general and not just for the piece.

    They released a video before the wrongful detainment by campus authorities.


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