Moderna Museet

Barbara Kruger

09 - 31 May 2008

© Barbara Kruger
Untitled (Between being born and dying), 2008
Photo: Åsa Lundén/Moderna Museet
"Untitled (Between being born and dying), 2008"

Opening 9 May, 2008
Curator: Camilla Carlberg

In time for Moderna Museet’s 50th anniversary, new art will be installed in the museum entrance areas. Yinka Shonibare’s “Warm Wall” and “Cold Wall” will be replaced by an entirely new work by the American artist Barbara Kruger. The work consists of three large, wall-based collages: two in the main entrance and one in the entrance facing the water, and embellishment of two pillars in the 4th-floor lobby. Barbara Kruger has applied the style with which she is associated – the colours red and white dominate, black and white photos and text combined in indivisible unity. In recent years, Barbara Kruger’s installations have grown to a monumental format, and this is the case with the work for Moderna Museet. Both text and image are practically gigantic. Barbara Kruger mixes her own statements with quotes from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mary McCarthy and Roland Barthes. A central aspect is the human predicament in the segregated, violent and consumerist 21st century world.
Barbara Kruger, born in 1945 in New Jersey, USA, is now a legendary artist. In 2005, she was awarded the Golden Lion for “lifetime achievement” at the Venice Biennale, the prize given to artists who have influenced the international art scene for a long period. Barbara Kruger began her career in advertising as a graphic artist and art director. She made her breakthrough as an artist in the early 1980s, at around the same time as other American women artists who challenged conventions in the art world, of whom Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, Louise Lawler and Sherrie Levine are the most noteworthy. Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer both use text and opted at an early stage to show their works in public spaces such as billboards, bus shelters and facades, rather than in galleries. Barbara Kruger has also produced a large series of accessible small objects, such as mugs, textile bags, t-shirts and fridge magnets. Both media represent conscious efforts to reach the general public.
Barbara Kruger is often labelled as a feminist and political artist. In works such as “Your gaze hits the side of my face”, “I am your reservoir of poses” and “We refuse to be your favourite embarrassment” she gives voice to the image of woman – the object – and turns her into the subject. But Barbara Kruger does not want to be pigeon-holed as a feministic or political artist. She has a great interest in general human issues that becomes obvious in her work for Moderna Museet. The indefensibleness not only of using, but also turning a blind eye to, violence, to treat others as you want them to treat you, and to try to be truthful, are some of the existential issues that Barbara Kruger wants the viewers in Stockholm to reflect on.

Tags: Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Cindy Sherman, Yinka Shonibare