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Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York
Smorgen Family Collection of Contemporary American Art, Melbourne
Sotheby’s, New York, 17 February 1999, lot 275
Private Collection (acquired at the above sale)
Sotheby’s, London, 2 July 2008, lot 323
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Sacramento, Crocker Art Museum; Las Vegas, The Nevada Institute for Contemporary Art Museum; Rockford, Rockford Art Museum; Idaho, Boise Gallery of Art
Arizona, Tucson Museum of Art, The Smorgen Family Collection of Contemporary American Art, 1985, p. 36, no. 11 (illustrated)
The graphic force of Barbara Kruger’s use of language in her oeuvre is a testament to the artist’s lasting reputation in today’s conceptual art world. Composed of the portrait of a woman alongside text stating ‘Our Time is Your Money’, the present work accentuates a strong, feminist message about the role of woman in society.
Pressing a pair of tweezers to her cheek, the depicted female figure is a symbol of a physical and sexual appeal imposed on women by society today. Kruger creates a crisp division of the sexes, addressing women as ‘our’ and men as ‘your’, thus placing women as victims of a consumer society controlled by men. Supplementing an image with a caption refutes the age-old phrase which argues that ‘an image is worth a thousand words’. The combination of words and image serves to accentuate the artist’s desired message.
Translating political or social statements into clever catchphrases, Kruger delivers these declarations as emphatic appeals, urging the viewer to respond and take action. In Untitled (Our Time is Your Money), the monochrome palette of the image and text succeeds in blending the two components, giving image and text an equal, democratic right within the composition. Kruger leaves no room for ambiguity: she is determined to make her message understood in the most cohesive and straightforward manner.
Best known for her captioned silkscreen prints, Barbara Kruger’s impact on contemporary art is evident through her presence within major public collections today, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, London’s Tate Modern and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, among many others.
London Auction 8 March 2017 5pm GMT