Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger

Art

Nationality: American

Birth Place: Newark (Essex county, New Jersey, United States)

Biography:
Barbara Kruger (January 26, 1945 - ) was born in Newark, New Jersey. Kruger is best known for her silkscreen prints where she placed blunt confrontational statements on the surface of found photographs. Her work as a conceptual artist is associated with the rise of Feminism in the 1980s, creating a dialogue through her declarative statements that address and critique the cultural constructions of power, identity, and sexuality.

Kruger attended Syracuse University’s School of Visual Arts and left after only a year when her father died. In 1965, she went on to study art and design with Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel at Parson’s School of Design in New York. She obtained a design job at Condé Nast Publications and the following year she was awarded the head designer. While Kruger was at Condé Nast, she worked as a graphic designer and picture editor for Mademoiselle magazine, Vogue, House and Garden, Aperture, and other publications. This extensive experience and background in design is strongly reflective in the work for which she is now known around the world.

As a conceptual artist, Kruger’s unique method of merging images with text creates a direct communication with the viewer. By appropriating found images from their original context in magazines, they become the background against which her confrontational phrases are inscribed. Through her distinctive wit, Kruger’s works succeed in interrogating the viewer to question and reconsider their own situation in contemporary society.

Many of her early works included large wall hangings of various materials like yarn, beads, sequins, feathers and ribbons, which reflected the period’s feminist recovery of craft. Some of these pieces were selected and exhibited in the 1973 Whitney Biennial, curated by Marcia Tucker.

In addition to being categorized with other feminist postmodern artists of her day, including Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, Sherry Levine, and Martha Rosler, Kruger is also considered to be part of the Pictures Generation. In her words, “I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are and who we aren’t.”

Kruger’s trademark style is recognized by black lettering against a slash of red background. The black and white images she uses derive from popular magazines that advertise the exact messages she questions and disputes. Two of her most famous slogans read “I shop, therefore I am,” and “Your body is a battleground.”

Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989, portrays a silkscreened frontal photograph of a model’s face dissected into multiple sections, with the face divided by the caption “Your body is a battleground.” The dissected image addresses the standards of beauty with which women are objectified. Originally, the work included more text and was created as a poster for the large pro-choice rally that took place in Washington, D.C., in 1989.

Kruger returned to magazine design in the 1990s. She has taught at the California Institute of the Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and University of California, Berkeley. She lives and works in New York and Los Angeles.

 

Barbara Kruger Original Art Values Sold at Auction

Item Realized
BARBARA KRUGER (American, b. 1945) Untitled (Pray), 2001 Cibachrome print in artist's wooden frame 84-3/4 x 48-7/8 in
BARBARA KRUGER (American, b. 1945) Untitled (Pray), 2001 Cibachrome print in artist's wooden frame 84-3/4 x 48-7/8 in...
Lot 72300
Auction 5172
Saturday, May 31, 2014
$37,500.00
Barbara Kruger (b. 1945) Don't Be A Jerk, 2017 Screenprint on maplewood skate deck 32 x 8 inches (81.3 x 20.3 cm) Li
Barbara Kruger (b. 1945) Don't Be A Jerk, 2017 Screenprint on maplewood skate deck 32 x 8 inches (81.3 x 20.3 cm) Li...
Lot 15090
Auction 191813
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
$937.50
Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945) Don't Be A Jerk, 2017 Screenprint on maplewood skate deck, with booklet 32 x 8 inc...
Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945) Don't Be A Jerk, 2017 Screenprint on maplewood skate deck, with booklet 32 x 8 inc... (Total: 2 Items)
Lot 14095
Auction 191811
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
$575.00

View prices realized on more items like this

PLEASE NOTE: All prices realized reflect the final hammer price PLUS the buyer's premium in auctions that charge a buyer's premium. Each item has a notation at the top of the listing indicating whether that lot included a buyer's premium. All information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, but errors are possible. Please use this guide carefully and inform us of any inaccuracies.



Art Values

How do you know what's valuable?

Our Art Value Guide provides free information about how to value your Barbara Kruger artwork.


Get a FREE auction evaluation

Our experts will evaluate your Barbara Kruger artwork for auction or private treaty sale.


Want More Barbara Kruger?

Be the first to know when more items from this artist are available by adding it your wantlist.


Interested in selling or consigning?

Learn more about selling or consigning your Barbara Kruger artwork with Heritage Auctions.


Other artists with this Nationality