Barbara Kruger @ AIC

The exhibit is a bit like walking around an Instagram feed. Bold pronouncements, scrolling videos, and noises fade in and out as you scroll by. The whole thing is a bit disorientating which might be the point as modern media can be. The exhibit (which is clear to say it’s not a retrospective) is remixing of a lot of Kruger’s signature works along with new ones. Aphorisms packed with double meaning adorn the walls and scroll by on various video pieces. The texts and pieces are sharp, packed with pointed phrases, and displayed in typical Kruger fashion with big black and white photos overlaid with white words on red stripes. Also, note the floor, the wood slates of the galleries have been overlaid with vinyl flooring giving the whole thing more of a commercial feel.

Kruger’s work, much of it from the 80s and 90s, feels as relevant and prescient as ever. It’s a bit like the writing of Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death—written at a time with different technology but reads current (interestingly, was published at the same time as Kruger’s earlier works). She’s been associated with the Picture’s Generation which includes Sherie Levine, Cindy Sherman, and Richard Price among others. All of which take on images from culture, appropriating them and recontextualizing them to make statements about identity, the role of media, power, and culture. Along these lines, her work is probably most closely related to Jenny Holzer.

Good overview and review from Artsy here. The exhibit runs through January 24th, 2022. Highly recommended.