Barbara Kruger

American conceptual artist

Barbara Kruger (born 26 January, 1945) is an American conceptual artist.

Barbara Kruger at ACCA, Melbourne

Quotes edit

  • When I hear the word Culture I take out my checkbook
    • Words on an untitled artwork (1985)
      • Taken directly from Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 film Le Mépris.
    • A takeoff on the quote "Whenever I hear the word 'Culture,' I reach for my revolver," from Hans Johst, Schlageter (1933), act I, scene I (actual quote: Wenn ich Kultur höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning! [Whenever I hear of culture... I release the safety-catch of my Browning!])
      • Paraphrased from The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey, '"When I heard the word 'culture,'" said Dr. Sarvis "I reach for my checkbook."' pg. 109
  • If you can’t feel it, it must be real.
    • Love For Sale – The Words and Pictures of Barbara Kruger, Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Melbourne, Australia, 17th October – 24th November 1996
  • Memory is your image of perfection.
    • Love For Sale – The Words and Pictures of Barbara Kruger, Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Melbourne, Australia, 17th October – 24th November 1996
  • Architecture is my first love, if you want to talk about what moves me — the ordering of space, the visual pleasure, architecture's power to construct our days and nights.
    • In: Art in America, Vol. 85, Nr. 10-12 (1997), p. 96
  • I have no complaints, except for the world.
    • Lecture, San Francisco Art Institute (2005-02-01)
  • What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers.
    • An email to a supreme employee.
  • I really think that my work has been concerned with a scrutiny of how we are to one another. How we love one another, adore one another, detest one another, damage one another, how we caress one another on both an intimate and global scale. The history of the past thousand years is fraught with power and its abuses.
  • I’m just trying, like most art or music or movies, to create a commentary—not literal—of how it feels to live another day, to watch the world turn itself inside out or try to turn us inside out.
  • I don’t believe that any work, whether it’s a piece of visual art or a novel or a building, is as brilliant and major and extraordinary or as damaged and pathetic and minor as it’s thought to be.

Interview (2013) edit

  • I have problems with a lot of photography, particularly street photography and photojournalism—objectifying the other, finding the contempt and exoticism that you might feel within yourself or toward yourself and projecting it out to others. There can be an abusive power to photography, too.
  • I remember going into galleries and seeing this thing called conceptual art, and I understand people’s marginalization from what the art subculture is because if you haven’t crashed the codes, and if you don’t know what it is, you feel it’s a conspiracy against your unintelligence. You feel it’s fraud. I understand that. Now that I have crashed the code, I understand and support all this work. But I know how, in many ways, it’s a closed language. My work, not so much so, and it’s not by coincidence, because I just feel I relate to that reader who doesn’t know the secret code word.
  • the whole decade-izing thing doesn’t work for me. To me, the ’80s began in 1975 and ended in 1984—’84 or ’85 is when the market changed, when things really heated up. For me, decades are weird. Artists always are a reflection of the times they have come up in. And I think that, for us, there was a real historical change, and it was the first time that women had entered the marketplace, that their works had not been marginalized.
  • I never say I do political art. Nor do I do feminist art. I’m a woman who’s a feminist, who makes art. But I think what work becomes visible and what work remains absent is always a result of historical circumstance, you know—hard work, to some degree, and social relations.
  • Most artists will never make money off their work, but that spark, that need to create commentary, to visualize, textualize, and musicalize your experience of the world will continue whether it’s a hot commodity or not. You see that places where that need is shut down, we see oppressiveness and subjugation. That need to create commentary is huge. Most of that commentary will not make a big flip profit for some guy buying a condo on the next block. You have to go in knowing that.
  • (Where is “Your Body Is a Battleground” not an issue?) BK: I’ve not been to that place yet.

Interview (2017) edit

  • sports is a way that men can be allowed to have physical contact that is disallowed in a homophobic culture—not only in the playing of the game but also in the viewing of the game. Sports promote a kind of romance or a group understanding and intimacy about the notion of teams, about men being together and men’s bodies being together. It’s also true of the military, and it’s true of cultures in certain countries that disallow difference and are homophobic and at the same time are engaged in a war for a world without women.
  • of course I’m a feminist, but I speak about feminism as a plural. There are feminisms, and those feminisms are acted out in terms of site specificity: context, race, class, gender, location. They also connect with a larger term, intersectionality, which is commonly used now but which I’ve always understood organically. There is always a connection between issues of race and gender and class. They don’t ever exist separately, and people who feel that they live them separately are really not understanding the multiple forces that have impacts on their identity and their lives. You just can’t talk about sexuality and gender without engaging the complicated issues of race, and you can’t talk about race without engaging complicated, under-recognized issues of class. And it’s wrong to trivialize any one of those things at the price of the other.
  • The failure of so-called progressive culture or the left is that people were closed within a bubble. And now it is promoted even more in what are called silos—in the right, the left, the middle, by our online identities, by our bookmarks, by where we go...
  • art is the creation of commentary. I think that art is the ability to textualize or visualize or musicalize one’s experience of the world—not on a diaristic, literal level but in a way that creates a commentary about what it feels to live another day. The goal for every human being, including myself, is to live an examined life—to really think about what makes us who we are in the world and how culture constructs and contains us. That’s what I’m interested in.
  • I was never a fan of street photography. I always thought that it was a brutal search on the streets for the most divine grotesquery or the most Other. I was always suspicious of that. A lot of photographers don’t understand the brutality of that practice. There are some photographers who picture people quite brilliantly; Catherine an example. But I think photojournalists are incredibly naïve, and many of them think they have halos over their heads, that they are witnessing this brutality but somehow are apart from it.

External links edit

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