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Special Interest Item
Critical Text --Worded Photograph --Political Poetry --Aphorism --Video Poetry --Visual Art --Artist Book (citation) --Documentation --Language Art --Fragmented Text --Mandala --Agitprop --Concrete Poetry
The introduction to this book was written by Hal Foster.
Amazon.com Reviews; Library Journal: Bluntly ambiguous and confrontational, Kruger's unmistakable work evokes an urgent desire to examine and get real about the complexity of human experience in the face of reductive politics and consumer culture. She is best known for images that play with the visual language of advertising: Signature red or white banners of text stamped on black-and-white photographs blast viewers with statements like "Your body is a battleground" (over the face of a woman) or "I shop therefore I am" (in a red square held like a credit card in a large hand). These and many other equally provoking works--including her early explorations pairing photographs and text, humorous sculptures, and full-room installations--make up the first comprehensive retrospective of Kruger's work, which opened last October in Los Angeles's Museum of Contemporary Art and will travel to the Whitney in New York later this summer. This book beautifully presents her work and frames a friendly investigation of its meanings and power in a group of essays that home in on the unsettling jolt her work delivers. It is an excellent and affordable overview of the work of an important contemporary artist.
D. Sutherland: For those unaware of Barbara Kruger herself, her images will surely be familiar. Bold, seemingly simple and effortless combinations of black and white images, many culled from '50s magazines, and thought-provoking text catch the viewer off-guard and make one think hard about exactly what the artist is saying. Her themes range broadly over the spectrum of social disenfranchisement and human rights, focussing especially on women's issues. This book is a fantastic dossier of her collected images from the last few decades. They remind the reader anew of her potency as a critic of the patriarchal culture, and lose none of their impact when reproduced on a scale smaller than the original. Interspersed with essays charting the impact of her work, this catalogue provides copious illustrations of all aspects of her work. Many images are familiar, but also included are newer pieces, eg her later sculptural work, and other items of interest such as magazine layouts and book covers. At about one inch thick, the book is surprisingly light, all the better to carry around - after picking it up, you won't want to put it down! For those who have never encountered Barbara Kruger, this is an excellent, even exhaustive, place to begin. For those who know her work already, read this now and rediscover her brilliance.