Barbara Kruger

  • The Artists’ Artists

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum asked an international group of artists to select a single exhibition or event that most memorably captured their eye in 2018.

    Barbara Kruger

    Bodys Isek Kingelez and “Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980” (Museum of Modern Art, New York, on view through January 1 and January 13, 2019, respectively) Kingelez’s “City Dreams” is all dazzling skill and deep style: a jammy urbanity emblazoned with invented corporate and government logos that speak to both the hope for a peaceful world and the seductions of global capital. The Congolese

  • Ingrid Sischy

    PARTIES AND OPENINGS are not my natural habitats. They inspire a dread that hovers like a dark cloud long in advance of the actual event. But there are always people who immediately relieve that kind of anxiety. They excel in intense one-on-one conversation that makes the surrounding tumult and brittleness fade away. Ingrid was one of those people. She had a gift for homing in on and reveling in shared appreciations and dismissals. She focused on both the big picture and the telling detail. She was funny, sly, and super smart. She eyed fame warily but was forcefully drawn to its siren song of

  • Barbara Kruger

    I STARTED OUT IN THE LATE 1960s as a magazine designer for Condé Nast, where I had the luxury of working with the best technology at the time. In laying out editorial content, I became attached to sans serif type, especially Futura and Helvetica, which I chose because they were the most readable; they could really cut through the grease. Yet I never fetishized them or my process, and as time went on and the industry started using computers, I did too. One thing that never changed, however, is my preference for commercial and industrial formats. For one, they are incredibly effective at graphically


    FOLLOWING THE RELEASE OF THE INDELIBLE Abu Ghraib photographs this past spring, Richard Serra produced Stop Bush, a print that he has distributed widely both in art venues and in mainstream publications, as well as on the Internet. Serra insists that the piece is not an artwork but rather a “way to just get the message out,” a tack that inspired Artforum to invite other artists to take up the cause. Our brief was simple and open-ended: We asked fourteen artists to make an original contribution to these pages on the occasion of the American presidential election. A few, like Tom Sachs (whose

  • Barbara Kruger

    Rosenquist’s work has all these beautifully thought-out, sumptuous, wonderful juxtapositions. There’s a fluency to how his images work together—how they both mesh and clash. I think that comes from his experience with sign painting, working with vernacular images, playing with them on a grand scale, through which he seems to have developed a designer’s eye. In a world in which almost everything seems designed—from botany and bodies to the built environment—it’s clear that every creative decision is engaging questions of the “look.” This incremental process of arranging things moves toward a kind

  • Reading 9-11-01

    IN THE DAYS immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, titles that promised answers in the face of the disaster threatened to keep retired General Electric CEO Jack Welch's straight-talking memoir out of the top slot on best-seller lists. Studies of the Taliban movement, Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization Al-Qaeda, and the ill-fated twin towers themselves predictably climbed the charts, but according to the New York Times, king of the hill was Nostradamus: At the online bookshop, three editions of the prophesies of the sixteenth-century mystic, into whose

  • The art that inspired them in 2000

    Those of us who live and breathe contemporary art will hold to the idea that art does change, if not the world, then the way we live in it. But our “world” can be more insular than we care to admit. So to open our look back at 2000, we asked twenty-one “outsiders” we admire—from novelist J.G. Ballard to musician John Zorn—to tell us about the art that inspired them this year.

    Dave Eggers (novelist)

    About a year ago, I saw Marcel Dzama’s stuff in zingmagazine and fell madly in love. Then his show at David Zwirner just killed me. A hundred or so drawings (bears with handguns, whale-men


    Driving across Europe with only one cassette, I never tired of MC Solaar’s Paradisiaque, a dazzling cross-cultural mix between American rap and chanson française—skillful wordplay in the tradition of Marcel Duchamp and Serge Gainsbourg.

    BEN RATLIFF, music critic, New York Times:
    I’ve been amazed by Caetano Veloso’s records––he is the avatar of a universal artist in pop music: a musician who studies and protects the cultural traditions of the New World, then generously expands them.

    ELIZABETH PEYTON, artist: Nirvana.

    BARBARA KRUGER, artist: There is no best of—just a

  • Beck and Al Hansen

    TAKE A LISTEN TO THIS. “Rubbish piles, fresh and plain. Empty boxes in a pawn shop brain. License plates stowaway. Standing in line like a readymade.” Get it? It’s sort of like a mess aesthetic, right? Or maybe a cool poetry thing. But it’s not only poetry, because it comes with tunes and other assorted noises bursting out of the bulky bag of tricks belonging to the world’s most famous tiny Viking, Beck. Beck Hansen that is, grandson of another artistic rummager, the late Al Hansen. Frequently associated with Fluxus and author of the now-classic A Primer of Happenings and Time/Space Art (1965),

  • Barbara Kruger

    1 King of the Hill (Fox): Who knew Sunday night would be Fox night? Joining The Simpsons and X-Files is Mike Judge’s latest report on the State of the Nation. It’s funny, brave, ridiculous, and brutal when it has to be. Sharply written with terrific animation that hits just the right notes, it’s laughable, in the best sense of the word.

    2 C-Span If there’s any other brave yet laughable stuff on TV, chances are you’ll find it on C-Span. And chances are it’ll also be dull, raucous, and scary, since C-Span can be all those things, which is what makes it so riveting. From literary discussions to

  • Trouble Girls

    Rock was once guys in all their babeness: adorable bundles of desire, rhythm, and rebellion. Women listened, got sung about, and watched the lucky guys flaunt their, uh, performative powers. Well, times have changed and women are making music and getting famous doing it. And this prominence has led us to look more rigorously at the less visible women who paved the way when being female in rock sucked. Yes, rock is being historicized. But history is always tricky. Because there’s never just one story that explains the world to itself.

    But this kind of storying is a relatively newfangled paradigm,

  • Earwig

    Columbus is a college town. So you’re thinking zillions of groovy coffeehouses, great bookstores, and cheap but tasty “ethnic” restaurants, right? Well forget it. Because Columbus isn’t that kind of college town. This isn’t some fancy-schmantzy private school oozing with precious dollops of aestheticized sensitivity. No sirree. This is Ohio State University: a huge, football-crazy, heartland kind of place. A place removed from the mallish and tallish buildings downtown and the trendyish cafes and tchotchke shops of the Short North. A place where the main drag, North High Street, is littered with

  • Galaxie 500

    So, a few years ago I’m at Wasteland in LA and I hear this fantastic music: sort of a dense mix of trance, overripe pop, sonic hooks, and incompetence. Yum. I ask the deeply cool cashier, “What’s playing?” He replies, numbly, “GALAXIE 500.” Oh, okay. So I’m thinking, I’ve got to get some of this stuff. Forget it. You can’t get it anywhere, because Galaxie 500 were already out of business. They were history, and their sounds had entered the fetish phase of the alt. music universe: a rare and pricey cult product. But one morning, in a tiny London record store, my search is rewarded. Sure enough,

  • Word Up!

    I’VE BEEN ASKED to comment on art magazines but my mind keeps wandering toward other things: like magazines in general, and how the commentary that fills them feeds both cultures and subcultures, how they jump-start ideas, how they drench us in taste, how they work an angle, how temporal they are, how soon their current divinities become yesterday’s papers. But I also start thinking about commentary in general, including this comment which you are now reading, or the other comments filling this magazine, or the commentary implicit or explicit in the art and ideas being commented on, and how all

  • Courtroom Drama

    IF THERE’S ONE THING that can barely escape anyone who has ever visited a court of law, it is that the term “courtroom drama” is no mere figure of speech. Legal procedures ore indeed dramas: protracted narratives, perhaps less seamlessly continuous than their novelistic, theatrical, cinematic, and video kin, but nonetheless rife with twists and turns and performances that either hit or miss. This performative aspect, this attempt to recreate moments through storying, tests the acting abilities of defendants, plaintiffs, judges, witnesses, and lawyers alike. But most often it is the attorney’s

  • Television

    WHO IS THIS GUY? What is this guy? Glistening hair floats over a militantly loosened collar stuffed into a shiny, expensive, ill-fitting suit. The camera closes in on a familiar face. This guy is taking advantage of just about the only airtime he’s had this year. Aside from brief sightings on Wiseguy, the Labor Day Telethon is it for Jerry Lewis. Ordinarily, to get this much attention he’d have to schlep to Paris. You see, in France Jerry Lewis is considered a genius. This last sentence is the funniest thing that ever happened anywhere near Jerry Lewis, which is disappointing since he’s supposed

  • Television

    TV IS A TOOL. But unlike computers and chain saws, there are no directions as to its use; no howtos, no recipes. You never forget how to use TV because you never have to learn how. Like any other relationship, it seems you just sort of “get along” with this chatty appliance; you “do” it, it “does” you. We “do” TV by letting its juices flow. Not flesh-and-blood juices, of course, but continuously acrid signals, impulses that flow from its artificial circuitry to our own. Like humans, television is sensitive to our touch. We flick a knob on its chassis and it performs for us. We know how to push

  • Television

    . . . You remember that expression, “get the lead out”? It’s almost out, almost gone. Clean water? I’m for clean water . . . I’ve been an outdoorsman and a sportsman all my life. I’ve been to these national parks . . . So I’ll just keep saying I am one . . . I am an environmentalist. I believe in our parks. I believe in the President’s commission on outdoors. And I’ll do a good job, because I am committed.

    —George Bush, 1988 Presidential Debate

    STUPIDITY FASCINATES. It is forthright. It is never self-conscious. It never listens. It says what it means and means what it says. Giving all it’s

  • Television

    CRANK UP THE OLD democracy machine, it’s election time again. Oil its rusty spokes, resuscitate its finicky engine, and push it into the center ring, into the circus of symbolic antiquities that serve as a front for the motors of power running the show. And what a show it is! Everything is designed and constructed around a calculated frenzy of posing, polling, and Q&A. It was the notion of the vote that laid the groundwork for the development of the mass media, and accordingly they reach their crescendo of fictive consensus through the elaborate entertainments of electoral politics. Opinion is