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  • Provenance

    Mary Boone Gallery, New York

  • Literature

    V. Combalia, “Invasion de Europeons” El Pais, March 6, 1989, p. 9 (illustrated); K. Linker, Love for Sale – The Words and pictures of Barbara Kruger, New York, 1990, p. 59 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    During the 1980s, Kruger mastered a style of conceptual work that consisted of enlarged black and white photographs taken from mid-21st Century American print-media juxtaposed with Futura bold typeface captions.These paintings create interesting associations between image and text, which border on societal criticism and play on the general fears of society with regards to racial, religious, sexual, and gender stereotypes.
    If Kruger is a spokeswoman for feminism, she is also its barometer, for beginning in the early 1980s her work registers a profound change within the women’s movement. At this time in the United States, and several years earlier in Europe, a specific branch of feminism began to express dissatisfaction with the equal-rights strategies that infused cultural politics in the 1970s. At issue was the failure of these strategies – based on eliminating discrimination and establishing equal access to institutional power – to disturb the ideological structures of which discrimination is symptomatic; attention was focused on their rigid and deterministic definition of sexuality as “natural,” pregiven, or biological. Among Kruger’s generation, gender was not regarded as an innate or “essential” condition, but rather as a construction produced through representation. Sexuality was regarded as the result of signification and semiotic effects, rather than of biology—a perspective that offers the possibility of changing our restrictive definitions of gender. Masculinity and femininity came to be seen as the products of adaptation to social standards of sexuality, in which the impact of signs play a determining role. In a manner with radical implications for the visual arts, discussions converged on the politics of the image.K. Linker, Love for Sale – The Words and Pictures of Barbara Kruger, New York, 1990, p. 59

  • Artist Biography

    Barbara Kruger

    Cool yet critical, Barbara Kruger’s advertising-influenced conceptual works address and challenge cultural constructions of power, identity, consumerism, and sexuality through their aggressively direct interrogations of the iniquities of modern life. Often employing the use of direct address and inclusive personal pronouns such as “I,” “you,” and “they,” Kruger’s aphorisms are unspecific and all-encompassing; the accusatory ambiguity of Kruger’s artworks unflinchingly implicates the viewer, society, and the artist herself for the omnipresent societal sins of our time.

    Kruger’s work is deeply ironic and thoroughly anti-hierarchical, criticisms delivered through a panoply of media for indiscriminate and immediate reception. Her moralizing messages, memento mori for the digital age, have been featured on museum walls as well as on t-shirts, billboards, and the façade of an infamous Frankfurt department store; they have become so ubiquitous that they seem to emanate from inside of our own consciences. Kruger has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, London; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Untitled (Free Love)


Photograph in artist’s frame.

87 1/2 x 51 1/2 in. (222.3 x 130.8 cm).

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $133,000

Contemporary Art Part I

15 May 2008, 7pm
New York