NEW YORK — The Museum of Modern Art is now showing Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You., a large-scale site-specific commission that envelops the Donald and Catherine Marron Family Atrium, and which is on view through January 2, 2023.
One of the most significant and visible artists of our time, Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945-) is a curious consumer and an incisive critic of popular culture, well known for using direct address as a rhetorical strategy to undermine and expose the power dynamics underscoring identity construction, desire and consumerism. Covering the various surfaces of the Marron Family Atrium’s walls and floor with printed vinyl, the commission at MoMA features the artist’s trademark bold textual statements on ideas of truth, power, belief, doubt and desire. Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You. is organized by Peter Eleey, former chief curator, MoMA PS1, and Lanka Tattersall, curator, department of drawings and prints, the Museum of Modern Art.
Based in Los Angeles and New York, Barbara Kruger has been creating powerful interrogations of social relations imbued with humor and urgency for more than 40 years, combining images and iconography drawn from mass-media photographs and emblazoning them with provocatively concise language. In 1980, Kruger formally exhibited her first works that overlaid fragments of text on photographs at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1), and in 1988 she curated Picturing “Greatness,” an exhibition at MoMA drawn from the museum’s photography collection. Since the 1980s, Kruger has presented her ideas in three-dimensional environments, often combining large-scale room wraps, multichannel videos and installations on building facades.
The installation at MoMA taps into Kruger’s long-standing interest in architecture and desire to envelop viewers in a commanding and thought-provoking environment, notably offering multiple points of entry and perspective into and onto the work. Visitors on the museum’s second floor will be able to walk on the vinyl-covered floor, entering into the space of the piece, while those on upper floors will be able to look down into the space Kruger will define.
With characteristic force, the work’s text and design will draw attention to the viewer’s spectatorial position, taking advantage of the Marron Family Atrium’s unique architecture to set up relationships between spatial and political power, exploring the ways these relationships can expand to considerations of inclusion and exclusion, dominance and agency.
Visit the website of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and see its dedicated page for Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.