Barbara Kruger - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    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

  • Exhibited

    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)

  • Catalogue Essay

    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.

  • 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 (Our Time is Your Money)

gelatin silver print, in artist's frame
187.5 x 126.5 cm (73 7/8 x 49 3/4 in.)
Executed in 1985. This work is unique.

£250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for £269,000

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 8 March 2017 5pm GMT