Monday, 16 May 2011

New writing for Aesthetica: review of Barbara Kruger's The Globe Shrinks at Sprüth Magers

There’s a game children play when they want to enrage their siblings; that of repeating verbatim everything the other says. Maintained to a suitably relentless level, this method of throwing someone’s utterances straight back in their face is passive-aggression at its most potent, with humiliating and infuriating results.

Over the course of her career as a visual artist, Barbara Kruger has enacted something akin to this in her work, drawing on the crisp imagery and pithy language from her days on magazine editorial to pitch consumerism, sexism and other unsavoury cultural mores right back at the viewer. ut intriguingly, rather than provoking the wrath that childish repeating games guarantee, Kruger has managed to maintain her place as part of the mainstream that she skewers. Her striking monochrome images, dashed with red and bearing deadpan slogans like ‘I shop therefore I am’ and ‘Buy me I’ll change your life’ are so slick she even sold them to Selfridges as advertising... (read more)

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