Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You – Book Review

Barbara Kruger

“Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You” is a journey through five decades of groundbreaking art by this iconic creative. Edited by Peter Eleey, Robyn Farrell, Michael Govan, Rebecca Morse, and James Rondeau, this volume offers an in-depth exploration of Kruger’s incisive work that challenges the hierarchies of power and control.

From the mid-1970s to today, Kruger’s art has interrogated the complexities of identity, desire, and consumerism with a unique blend of visual and written language. Her singular graphic style captivates readers, drawing them into a world where images and words converge to provoke thought and reflection.

The book showcases Kruger’s evolution as an artist, highlighting her adaptation to different moments, sites, and contexts. From analogue paste-ups of the 1980s to digital productions of the last two decades, including new works created for the exhibition, readers are treated to a diverse array of striking images that resonate with contemporary relevance.

Kruger’s site-specific works take centre stage in the volume, demonstrating how she reimagines her art for each venue with meticulous attention to detail. Including reprinted texts selected by the artist provides further insight into her creative process and artistic philosophy.

Renowned for using direct address and fearless engagement with contemporary culture, Kruger emerges as one of the most courageous artists of our time. Her pictures and words continue to reverberate with urgency in a rapidly changing world, making this volume an essential addition to any art lover’s collection.

“Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You” celebrates the enduring impact of Kruger’s art and offers readers a profound glimpse into the mind of a visionary artist who challenges the status quo with every brushstroke and word.

Barbara Kruger, born in Newark, New Jersey, 1945, is a renowned contemporary artist known for her iconic and provocative works that blend text and images to explore themes of power, identity, consumerism, and gender. Kruger’s distinct aesthetic, characterized by bold black-and-white text overlaid on found photographs or striking red backgrounds, has left an indelible mark on the art world and popular culture.

Kruger began her career as a graphic designer and art director in the 1960s and 1970s, working for magazines such as Mademoiselle and House and Garden. Her early experiences in the advertising industry profoundly influenced her artistic practice, leading her to critique the pervasive influence of mass media and consumer culture on society.

In the mid-1970s, Kruger transitioned to fine art, creating her first works that combined photography and text. Her artworks often feature short, declarative phrases that challenge viewers to reconsider how language shapes our perceptions of reality. With her signature style, Kruger confronts viewers with questions about power dynamics, gender roles, and societal norms.

Kruger’s art gained widespread recognition in the 1980s as she began to exhibit her work in galleries and museums across the United States and internationally. Her pieces, often displayed in public spaces or on billboards, have become synonymous with cultural critique and social commentary.

Throughout her career, Kruger has remained committed to using her art as a tool for activism and advocacy. She has addressed issues such as feminism, consumerism, and political power structures, sparking meaningful conversations about the intersections of art, politics, and society.

In addition to her visual art, Kruger has also worked in film and video, further expanding her creative output and exploring new mediums for artistic expression. Her multidisciplinary approach underscores her innovative spirit and enduring relevance in the contemporary art world.

Today, Barbara Kruger’s work continues to inspire and challenge audiences around the globe. With her bold aesthetic, uncompromising subject matter and humour, she remains a leading figure in conceptual art, pushing boundaries and provoking thought with every piece she creates.

**** PCR Artlyst


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