Barbara Kruger’s deeply conceptual and politically oriented body of work developed out of her earlier career in design for magazines such as Mademoiselle, House and Garden and Aperture. Her experience working with publications directly influenced her artistic vocabulary, evidenced in her signature use of collaged text and image, which draw directly on the idioms of graphic design and advertising. Kruger’s images are typically sourced from magazines and other widely circulated media, situating them with debates about appropriation and authorship. Over these appropriated images, she appends aphorisms and witty quips such as “Your Body is a Battleground” and “I Shop Therefore I Am,” intended to both seduce and accuse the viewer. These often-aggressive texts and the jarring black, white, and red palette of many of her works urgently implore the viewer to examine his or her own relationship to not only the piece itself, but also the visual culture it participates in, which is linked to consumerism, feminism, and classism.
Kruger’s work has been exhibited widely, including solo shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the ICA London, and MoMA PS1. She has also been featured at numerous biennials, including the Venice Biennale in 1982 and 2005 and the Whitney Biennial in 1983 and 1985.