National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
30. September 2016 – 22. January 2017
curator Molly Donovan
East Building, Tower – Gallery 501
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
Barbara Kruger Exhibition Explores Artist’s Standout
Profile Works at National Gallery of Art, Washington,
September 30, 2016–January 22, 2017
A focused exhibition featuring the work of American artist Barbara Kruger (b. 1945) will reopen the East Building Tower Gallery after nearly three years of renovation to the space. Inspired by the Gallery’s recent acquisition of Kruger’s Untitled (Know nothing, Believe anything, Forget everything) (1987/2014), the exhibition comprises related images of faces and figures in profile over which Kruger has superimposed her striking phrases and figures of speech. The distinctive direct address of Kruger’s texts (using active verbs and personal pronouns) confronts viewers straight on, contrasting with her selected images of side-glancing figures, receiving and averting the audience’s gaze. The results are arresting conceptual works of visual power and wit.
Film Program
Barbara Kruger Selects
December 3 – 31

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) Directed by Don Siegel Shown from left: Dana Wynter, Kevin McCarthy

Barbara Kruger is a conceptual artist who, beginning in the early 1980s, empowered the female subject through a resistance to the gaze. Her art developed at a time when the critical discourse questioning power structures dominated visual practice. An investigation into the way in which viewer identity is constructed and how meaning is embedded and disseminated through mass media led artists such as Kruger to challenge the dynamics of what it means to look and be looked at. This extended naturally to film and television. Indeed, she wrote as a critic on these topics for Artforum. Kruger’s concerns have taken on increasingly broader meaning, to explore the nature of human relationships. In conjunction with the exhibition In the Tower: Barbara Kruger, the artist has selected four favorite films for this series.
Gallery Talks
In the Tower: Barbara Kruger
October 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11 | 2:00
October 9 | 1:00
(50 minutes)
East Building Diane Arkin
Introduction to the Exhibition
In the Tower: Barbara Kruger
Sunday, October 23, 2016 | 2:00 p.m.
with: Exhibition curator Molly Donovan, associate curator,
department of modern art, National Gallery of Art,
Teacher Workshop
Barbara Kruger: Images, Text, and Social Critique
Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington
The exhibition is made possible by The Tower Project of the National Gallery of Art.
Admission is always free and passes are not required

Kruger, a professor in the art department at UCLA since 2006, has long maintained a commitment to teaching as a part of her practice. In December she will visit the National Gallery to talk with high school art students from DC Public Schools. The students will participate in education programs throughout the fall with Gallery educators, studying Kruger’s work in the Tower exhibition and exploring the construction of identity in artworks across the museum’s collection. This program marks the first time that an artist with an exhibition currently on view has worked with local students at the Gallery, and highlights Kruger’s commitment to teaching and inspiring the next generation.

As a former film and television critic for Artforum, Kruger has acknowledged a deep interest in the moving image. In December the Gallery will feature an extensive film series, “Barbara Kruger Selects,” chosen by the artist around the theme of the show and the artist’s methodologies.

Exhibition curator Molly Donovan, associate curator, department of modern art, National Gallery of Art, will present a lecture on Sunday, October 23, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.

Barbara Kruger (b. 1945)

Kruger’s higher education began at Syracuse University and continued at Parson’s School of Art and Design in New York, where she studied with Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel in 1966. Beginning in 1967 Kruger worked as a layout editor at Condé Nast for twelve years, including posts at Mademoiselle, House and Garden, and Aperture. In 1969 Kruger began to make her own art while also writing poetry and film and television reviews. A decade later she had developed her “picture practice” with photographs repurposed from 1940s–1970s manuals and magazines that she overlaid with her own texts or commonplace phrases. The completed works alter her found materials, inscribing her admonitions and questions over the images to stimulate and rouse the viewer from passive acceptance.

Kruger’s background in design is evident in these works, for which she is internationally renowned. Owing to her interest in the public arena and the everyday, Kruger’s work has appeared on billboards, bus cards, posters, T-shirts, matchbook covers, in public parks, and on train station platforms. Recent work has included immersive installations of room-wrapping images and text, and multiple-channel videos.

Prior to teaching at UCLA, Kruger taught at California Institute of the Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2005 Kruger received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale. Her work was featured in the Whitney Biennial in 1973, 1983, 1985, and 1987; the Venice Biennale in 1982, 1993, and 2005; and Documenta 8 in 1987. Notable solo exhibitions include P.S. 1, Long Island City, New York (1980); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1983); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1985); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1999, traveled to Whitney Museum of American Art in 2000); South London Gallery (2001); Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2005); the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2008); the Museum Of Modern Art, Oxford (2014), and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (2012–2016). Kruger lives and works in Los Angeles and New York City.


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