June 14, 2014 - Modern Art Oxford - Barbara Kruger
June 14, 2014

Barbara Kruger

Courtesy of Barbara Kruger, 2014.

Barbara Kruger
28 June–31 August 2014

Press preview: Friday 27 June,
Preview: Friday 27 June, 6:30pm

Modern Art Oxford
30 Pembroke St
Oxford OX11BP


Modern Art Oxford presents a major exhibition of new and recent work by internationally acclaimed artist Barbara Kruger. Her instantly recognisable works incorporate bold slogans, colour and dramatic presentations of text and image to investigate strategies of power and influence at play in mass media and contemporary popular culture.

For Modern Art Oxford, Kruger presents a new site-specific text work that envelops the entire surface area of the Upper Gallery from lintel to floor using black, white and green—colours that seldom appear in her repertoire—this new installation was developed in direct response to the distinctive quality of space and light in the gallery.

While the exhibition addresses ideas of value and consumerism, this work also presents a more philosophical trajectory, confronting the viewer with questions and declarations such as, “IS THERE LIFE WITHOUT PAIN?” “IS THAT ALL THERE IS?” and “THE BRUTAL RELENTLESS FEARFUL END OF IT ALL.”  The repeated motif of an emoticon—a hallmark of smartphone and social media communication—references the explosion of digital culture across online and mobile platforms and the influence of these technologies on our lives.

In the Middle Gallery, a series of classic paste-up works from the 1980s evidence Kruger’s iconic style of composition; they are presented alongside Plenty LA (2008), a film capturing the gaze of the phone-obsessed consumer.

In the Piper Gallery, a four screen installation—a rare presentation of Kruger’s film Twelve (2004)—portrays twelve exchanges between a series of characters that are both confrontational and evocative of the casual cruelty of soap operas, talk shows and political debate.

Artist talk: Barbara Kruger in conversation with Iwona Blazwick, Director of Whitechapel Gallery, Friday 27 June, 5–6pm

Publication: A publication produced to mark the exhibition featuring text by Ciara Moloney and Timothy Williamson, Wykeham Professor of Logic at the University of Oxford.

Barbara Kruger biography
Barbara Kruger’s career has spanned over 40 years. Known internationally for her iconic and provocative body of work, including I Shop Therefore I Am (1987), among other text works, she has exhibited in museums and public spaces worldwide and is included in numerous collections of contemporary art around the world. She was awarded the Life Time Achievement Medal at the Venice Biennale in 2005.

Through ironic appropriation of specific slogans and imagery, Kruger deploys the visual strategies of mass media in order to challenge the often manipulative logic at work in the language of advertising, television and other media. This is most evident in Kruger’s careful skewing of familiar idioms to generate aphorisms, which range from the metaphysical to more overtly political statements. The artist has described her interest in popular culture, citing influences such as film, magazines and reality television as a useful measure of contemporary conceptions of value and materialism.

Born in Newark (1945), she now lives in New York and Los Angeles. After attending the School of Visual Arts at Syracuse University, she went on to study Art and Design with Diane Arbus at Parsons School of Design in New York.

The Modern Art Oxford Barbara Kruger exhibition is supported by
The Barbara Kruger Exhibition Circle
Sprüth Magers Berlin London

Modern Art Oxford is supported by Arts Council England and Oxford City Council. 
Also showing: 14 June–3 August, Patricia L Boyd’s Metrics, for which a new series of sculptures commissioned by Modern Art Oxford that asks challenging questions about the everyday spaces in which we work and live.

For further information and images, please contact Hannah Evans, Communications Manager, Modern Art Oxford at hannah.evans [​at​] modernartoxford.org.uk / T +44 (0) 1865 813 826 /
M +44 (0) 7817 268 998.

Barbara Kruger at Modern Art Oxford
Modern Art Oxford
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