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Barbara Kruger. That is a name that many people recognize in today’s society. Kruger is a contemporary artist who focuses mainly around feminism. She specializes in techniques of production, visual formats, and verbal style. Kruger creates photographs and puts a sentence over the top of the image. Most of the time, The sentences have bold, white letters, surrounded by a bright red box. Barbara utilizes the techniques of advertising and propaganda to campaign for gender equality. Her work shows up all over; billboards, books, museums, and much more. Her goal is to communicate with a mass audience. Kruger rejects advertising alliances with commercial interests and propaganda’s dependence on governmental authority. Most of her work remains untitled but are referred to as the text inside the image. Kruger has been featured in many many books, podcasts,and documentaries, and has even released a few of her own. She is one of the most successful contemporary artists today. Barbara Kruger’s art work plays a huge role in today’s fight for gender equality.
An example of Kruger’s work would be You are not Yourself. This image was created in 1981 and shows a woman examining herself in a mirror that seems to have been stuck and shattered by a bullet. The text drifts from Kruger’s signature red box and the letters are zigzagged around the image to match the broken mirror. This image suggests that the existence of women in society is inherently fragmented. It also implies the women are forced to adopt specific roles and are held to expectations that society has created. This leads on to the point that when a woman is finally has time to look at herself in the mirror, she finds that she is “not herself”. She is the person that society wants her to be. Kruger uses this image to encourage the viewer to consider and question their own subjectivity.
A second example of Kruger’s work would be Your Body is a Battleground, created in 1989. During the year 1989, there were several protests about the new anti abortion laws that were going against the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision She created this image for the Women’s March on Washington in support for reproductive freedom. Not only was this a pro-choice image, but Kruger created it to tell the story of a woman’s struggles in society. In this image, Kruger took a woman’s face and split it down the middle. One side is in positive exposure, while the other is in negative exposure. The text above the image is centered straight down the center.
The last example of Kruger’s work would be Your Comfort is My Silence. This image was also created in 1981. Kruger uses her signature mark of the power of words and images to attract the attention of the audience. It shows a man with his pointer finger in front of his mouth, hushing the viewer. The text has a white box around it, however over the words “Your” and “silence”, there is a red box that portrays as a sticker above the original text. This image shows females as submissive and males as dominant, and speaks the female point of view. This brings attention to gender identities.
Barbara Kruger played, and still does, a huge role in the gender equality movement. Her work brings attention to and exposes issues on gender inequalities combined with other issues such as consumption, money, war, and many others. Kruger once said, “I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are, what we want to be, and what we become”.
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