Barbara Kruger


August 9, 2005

Barbara Kruger

5 August - 26 September 2005

25 Albert Drive, Glasgow G41 2PE

Tramway is delighted to present Twelve, an installation by one of the worlds foremost contemporary artists, Barbara Kruger.

First shown at Mary Boone Gallery in New York in April 2004, Twelve is a large scale video installation of twelve short scenes, written by Kruger, performed by actors and projected on opposite sides of the space to each other. Nine of the 12 scenes occur at the same time in a dinner setting. Text scrolling along the bottom of each scene suggest the thoughts or words of the people involved.

Each scene lasts between 6 seconds to 12 minutes long and portrays discussions between groups, friends or families, which evolve into argument. As the viewer stands in the centre of the installation going on around them, they are thrust into the middle of discussions which become increasingly hostile, feeling unease at witnessing something private yet public, real yet unreal, violent orally/aurally but not physically.

Further, to coincide with Twelve, Tramway commissioned artists Belinda Guidi and James McLardy to work with a group of teenage boys from the Linthouse area of the city, in response to themes raised in Twelve.

Barry Burns, Robert Duncan and Andrew Hulley worked with the artists over a period of two months, experimenting with a range of creative processes including drawing, sculpture and film-making. Focusing on the concept of den, the group explored how lines of demarcation between the personal and the public evolve, are erased and re-made. The resulting project, With Bow and Drill, will run for the last week of the show (20 26 Sep).

Barbara Kruger was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1945 and now lives in New York and Los Angeles. After attending Syracuse University, she went on to study Art and Design with Diane Arbus at Parsons School of Design in New York. Barbara Krugers iconic red and black text and image works, where fragments of images are overlaid with short phrases or captions, owe much to her early career in graphic design and art direction at Conde Nast Publications.

Since then, Kruger has sustained a career which spans over thirty years. Her work is included in all major collections of contemporary art throughout the world but is just as likely to be placed in non-art environments billboards, public parks, train stations, or match boxes.

Barbara Kruger uses popular culture as both a subject and a tool in her work. Images taken from sources such as fashion magazines are juxtaposed with provocative text to criticize the very structures and values these magazines propagate. Her work poses questions, scenarios, and ideas on a range of subjects – economics, consumerism, gender politics, race, personal rights, autonomy but all can be reduced to a simple exploration of how people function and co-exist within a hierarchical society.
Power and its politics and hierarchies exist everywhere: in every conversation we have, in every deal we make, in every face we kiss. I try to address this power and how it choreographs the issues of violence and control, of wealth and poverty, of hope and abjection.
( from an interview with Barbara Kruger, Amnesty, March 2005)
Tramway has programmed two talks on Barbara Krugers work during the show:

Wed 10th Aug, 7pm, free – on a first come first served basis
Prof James W. McManus, Department of Art and Art History, California State University on The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Mass Production and The Master Manipulators of the Marketplace: Duchamp, Warhol, Koons , Kinkade and Kruger
Sat 20th Aug, 2pm, free on a first come first served basis
Designer (fine art educated) Nick Shinn on The Graphic Language of Barbara Kruger
For more information/images please contact:
Lorraine Wilson, Curator, Tramway, 0141 422 2023/

In an unprecedented partnership for venues in the city, Twelve has been programmed as a partner show to Barbara Kruger at Glasgows Gallery of Modern Art (21 April 26 Sep)
( as part of their Rule of Thumb: Contemporary Art and Human Rights series.

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August 9, 2005

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