Barbara Kruger

Mary Boone Gallery | Uptown

Not for the first time, Barbara Kruger deals in her latest work with pressure, animosity, stress. Twelve, 2004, is a video installation in which images of the individuals in a dozen successive friend and family groups sitting around tables are projected on the gallery’s four walls. The work is structured as if Kruger had set four cameras in the middle of the table, each facing one side; the result is that on each wall we see one person, close and way over life-size, who faces us while talking or listening to the people on the space’s other walls. I say talking or listening, but it would be truer to say they quarrel or grit their teeth: If these conversations boast a moment of agreement or understanding, affection or trust, I missed it. Under the talking heads, a text crawl may fill in the characters’ scabrous thoughts. Twelve joins a long and honorable line of unsentimental worldviews.

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