Since 1987, Barbara Kruger’s iconic text-based images, known for their biting critiques of everything from consumerism to Donald Trump, have appeared at the Mary Boone Gallery, which closed earlier this year when its owner went to prison on tax charges. Now Kruger has found a new home, at mega-gallery David Zwirner, which will share representation with her longtime European dealer Sprüth Magers, of London, Berlin, and Los Angeles.
Kruger’s most iconic constructions, in particular her signature agitprop style of black-and-white images overlaid with Futura Bold Oblique font, remain touchstones of feminist and consumer critique. (They have been the inspiration for Supreme’s logo. Kruger has called that fashion company “uncool.”) Like her contemporary Jenny Holzer, Kruger utilizes pithy aphorisms to implicate viewers in her ideas.
The artist, who was born in 1945 in Newark, New Jersey, first gained institutional attention with large woven hangings of yarn, ribbon, and sequins, among other traditionally feminine gendered materials as part of the 1973 Whitney Biennial. Solo exhibitions in New York soon followed, first at Artists Space in 1974 and then at Fischbach Gallery in 1975. She had her first show at Monika Sprüth Galerie in Cologne in 1985, starting a relationship that would continue for more than 30 years.
Kruger soon moved away from craft style, perfecting her stark text-based iconography in the 1980s and becoming a key member of the Pictures Generation, the group of artists who used photography, advertising, and other forms of mass media to reflect on a world filled with images. During that decade she created some of her most enduring works, including 1981’s Untitled (Your Gaze Hits the Side of My Face), featuring a female bust in profile as critique of the male gaze, and 1987’s Untitled (I Shop Therefore I Am), featuring a reaching hand as a statement on material consumption.
Her work has been shown extensively around the world, including at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (in 1983), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (1999), the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2005), and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (2008). Kruger also has long-term installations at various institutions, including MOCA L.A. and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.
In 2005 Kruger received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at that year’s Venice Biennale, where she had designed the facade for the Italian Pavilion. In September, she was awarded the Emperor’s Ring’s prize from the city of Goslar, Germany, where a solo show of her work is on view through January 26 at the Mönchehaus Museum Goslar. In 2016 Kruger was commissioned by New York Magazine to illustrate a cover story on then presidential candidate Donald Trump; the much-debated final product was a closely cropped portrait of the subject overlaid with the text “LOSER.”
In a statement, David Zwirner said, “[Kruger’s] work has become even more essential in the decades since, speaking truth to power and transitioning from the museum into mainstream culture. We are honored to represent her and look forward to exhibiting her work.”