I shop therefore I am: new Barbara Kruger retrospective comes to Oxford

The art of Barbara Kruger often speaks the language of design to create a wry, sometimes bleak commentary on contemporary society that’s as relevant today as when it was first created.

Barbara Kruger Don’t Shoot, 2013

Source: Courtesy Spru¨th Magers Berlin London

Barbara KrugerDon’t Shoot, 2013

Her iconic style has become ubiquitous in the world of advertising and marketing, used by brands such as Selfridges to create cheeky, forthright campaigns.

Barbara Kruger Untitled (We don't need another hero), 1988

Source: Courtesy Spru¨th Magers Berlin London

Barbara KrugerUntitled (We don’t need another hero), 1988

Late-June sees the opening of a show devoted to Kruger’s work at Modern Art Oxford gallery, showing new and recent pieces by the American artist.

Barbara Kruger Cicus, 2010 Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main

Source: Courtesy Spru¨th Magers Berlin London

Barbara KrugerCicus, 2010Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main

The show will span all the gallery spaces at the site, and will include a site-specific text installation forming a wrap of the upper gallery. Other pieces include a multi-channel video installation and a selection of works on paper.

Barbara Kruger Belief and Doubt, 2012 Hirshhorn Museum (Lower Level Lobby)

Source: Courtesy Spru¨th Magers Berlin London

Barbara KrugerBelief and Doubt, 2012Hirshhorn Museum (Lower Level Lobby)

One of Kruger’s most iconic pieces – and perhaps one of her most widely misinterpreted – is 1987’s I Shop Therefore I Am, which exemplifies her distinctive collage-like style, which sees imagery overlaid with stark lines of text in a hard-hitting red, black and white palette.

I shop therefore I am

I shop therefore I am

Her text-led, strapline-esque approach makes it little surprise to learn that Kruger’s career began in graphic design and art direct at publisher Condé Nast.

Barbara Kruger Untitled (Talk is cheap), 1985

Source: Courtesy Spru¨th Magers Berlin London

Barbara KrugerUntitled (Talk is cheap), 1985

The new work on show at the exhibition demonstrates that Kruger’s feminist, direct approach hasn’t wavered. The site-specific piece will use text and sharp line to explore consumerism, autonomy and desire, enveloping the viewer in their messages.

Barbara Kruger Untitled (You delight in the loss of others), 1982

Source: Courtesy Spru¨th Magers Berlin London

Barbara KrugerUntitled (You delight in the loss of others), 1982

Barbara Kruger runs from 27 June – 31 August at Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke St, Oxford OX1 1BP

Barbara Kruger Untitled (You do what you can to get what you want), 1984

Source: Courtesy Spru¨th Magers Berlin London

Barbara KrugerUntitled (You do what you can to get what you want), 1984

Latest articles