Friday, February 12, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Sun Aquarian Barbara Kruger

Below is a re-airing of a 2011 post...just because. Before starting the re-run, though, I looked around to discover whether Ms Kruger has had anything to say about the current election season. I found this, by Bob Duggan, relating to the 2012 election season at Big Think: How Barbara Kruger Asks the Questions This Election Must Answer. The exhibit is still on view, I understand. I haven't yet found anything specifically related to 2016 though. I like this one of Ms Kruger's for our current situation:

Barbara Kruger (Sun Aquarian) is an artist whose work, once identified, is immediately recognisable from then on. She incorporates text and old photographs from magazines, or her own photographs, to present provocative messages. These concern consumer culture, stereotyping, feminism, politics etc. In recent years she has moved into video art and installation art.

One of Ms Kruger's best known slogans “I shop therefore I am” mocks consumerism.

She also uses her artwork as a platform to make known her political and social views on some controversial issues such as abortion i.e. “Pro-life for the unborn…Pro-death for the born.”

In an interview with Barbara Kruger conducted by Thyrza Nichols Goodeve in the November 1997 issue of Art in America, titled “The Art of Public Address,” Ms Kruger explained:

The brevity of the text is about cutting through the grease. I just want to address people in a very forthright manner. It is why I always use pronouns, because they cut through in the same way. Direct address has been a consistent tactic in my work, regardless of the medium that I'm working in. I try to deal with the complexities of power and social life, but as far as the visual presentation goes I purposely avoid a high degree of difficulty. I want people to be drawn into the space of the work. And a lot of people are like me in that they have relatively short attention spans. So I shoot for the window of opportunity.

Barbara Kruger was born into a working class background in Newark, New Jersey on 26 January 1945. After graduating from Syracuse University, she enrolled in Parsons School of Design in 1965. Shortly after, she was given a job at Mademoiselle.

From an interview at Dazed Digital

I felt like a Martian at Syracuse University. Most of the people there were very wealthy and had a lot of facial surgery. After the first year at college I saw little reason to stay. And my father had died, so I wanted to be closer to my mom in New Jersey.

I transferred to Parsons School of Design and studied with Diane Arbus. She was the first female role model I had that didn’t wash the kitchen floor six times a day.
I left school at 19. I didn’t have the money to continue. Initially, I got a job as a telephone operator. Then I was hired at Condé Nast as an assistant designer at Mademoiselle Magazine.

In the beginning, it was thrilling to work for magazines because it was all new, and I thought I wanted to be Art Director of the World! But I soon realised that I just didn’t have it in me to be a designer. Designers have to construct millions of different images of perfection to suit their clients. The have extraordinarily broad skill sets. I admire that tremendously, but I could never do that.

I didn’t have a pot to piss in so I started to take all these teaching jobs. Without a degree you couldn’t get a real job, so I just got visiting jobs. I first went to CalArts in 79 and I think at that point I realised I liked LA. I’ve been in Los Angeles for almost 22 years now.

(12 noon chart - time of birth not known.)

No wonder I've been cheering on every example of her slogans I've uploaded for display here! Ms Kruger's natal Sun is in the same degree of Aquarius as my own, and she, too, has Mercury in Capricorn. Socially aware, interested in communicating in a straightforward, no nonsense fashion! There the similarities end though.

Without a time of birth I cannot ascertain rising sign or exact Moon position, but whatever her time of birth Moon would be somewhere in the sign it rules - and possibly the most "female" of all the signs - Cancer, which I think clearly links to her connection with feminism.

There's a lovely Grand Trine in Air in her chart. Uranus in Gemini and Neptune in Libra link to each other in harmonious trine, and both link to her Aquarius Sun, and underline her Aquarian traits of slight eccentricity (Uranus ruler of Aquarius), and creativity (Neptune).

Many more examples can be seen at Google Image.
I think that every so-called history book and film biography should be prefaced by the statement that what follows is the author's rendition of events and circumstances.

Listen: our culture is saturated with irony whether we know it or not.

Look, we're all saddled with things that make us better or worse. This world is a crazy place, and I've chosen to make my work about that insanity.
(Barbara Kruger)


mike said...

I find it difficult to place this genre in the art world, but rather in the domain of graphic design. That doesn't mean I don't like the craft...I do...but defining paste-ups (or collage in the pre-digital world) as art seems generous to me, particularly with appropriated photographs. These works aren't very different from advertisements, minus the advertisement...LOL. They are slogan pieces with a photo background to enhance the text. Art has a broad definition and manual-intellectual dexterity befitting of a craft can be considered art.

Years ago in my low-income, college days, a group of us friends cut-out photos from magazines and adorned these collages with cut-out type-phrases, also from magazines and newspapers. We exchanged them as greeting, birthday, and special-occasion cards. None was without merit and enjoyment. I viewed them as wonderful, creative expressions...a step-up from mundane letters: pictographs.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Labels and classifications have become looser as decades have passed. Art is now a broader church than ever. I'd call Ms Kruger's work "arty farty". Some of the photos used are her own, to be fair - those borrowed were borrowed for a reason. I see her as a satirical photographic cartoonist.

I wonder if she has ever considered getting into politics. :-)

mike (again) said...

Off - Hillary concluded last night's debate with Bernie's new ad!!! Bernie's ad came-out yesterday prior to the debate. I watched-heard Hillary's final remarks and thought it nicely done. Now, I realize she lifted it right from Bernie. That skank...LOL! I'm berning!

Here's the new ad:

Here's Jimmy Lasalvia's essay at Salon:

LB said...

The artist's messages are provocative, which I appreciate. With that in mind (and like you), I was curious about her political leanings.

According to the link I found, she contributed $1,000 to Obama's *2012* reelection campaign. Also $250 in 2014 to NARAL Pro-Choice America:

LB said...

Barbara Kruger's work was also featured during an "Artists and Writers for Obama" 2012 fund-raising event held at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York:

With SN-Mercury-Mars conjunct in Capricorn, she's probably comfortable moving in powerful (and wealthy) circles, ones that no doubt help to support and advance her career. In spite of her provocative messages, she's likely very pragmatic in her choices. Nothing wrong with that, not if she really *believes* in the integrity of who and what she supports.

Every sign has its shadow.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thanks for the links. I didn't see all of last night's debate (busy watching American Idol during the first hour - but did switch back ad forth during ad. breaks - which were many and long LOL!) then at 9 o'clock watched maybe 10 minutes but decided to leave it there, as we'd watched the previous debate and questions and answers were similar (unsurprisingly).

Hadn't see the Together video - another good one! I'm not surprised that Hillary used its message. She certainly does seem to be following rather than leading this time.
Really and truly I believe she should have been President in 2008. however, had that happened we'd likely have Obama running now and no Bernie.

I'm half excited and half worried about the next two primaries + Super Tuesday - almost feel as though I want to go somewhere out of eye-shot and earshot of it all and come back after that's over.

I read in comments somewhere that Bernie was coughing a lot during the last part of the debate last night - is that true? Or is it just, I wonder, the next negative age and health-related talking point being thrown ion to comment threads by the opposition?

Twilight said...

LB ~ Hmm - thanks for that information. In 2012 I didn't vote for any presidential candidate - voted downlist only. I was in a miff with Obama over his drone programme.
I suppose that Ms Kruger, as you say, moves in certain circles, which will have side effect of certain benefits depending of political allegiances. She's definitely on the left side of politics, how far left isn't certain.

It'd be interesting to know if she's supporting anyone this time. If she does, my bet would be on Hillary. :-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ If she supported Obama in 2012 (which kind of surprised me, though maybe it ought not to have), then Hillary would probably be a good bet this time around. But who knows, maybe not.:)

mike (again) said...

Bernie did cough a couple of times...he seemed to consume a lot of water from the token glass. I would imagine his vocal chords are in need of a rest and the dry, frigid air up north doesn't help, either. Hillary had the same problem about a month ago. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the several winter-type diseases didn't find a host in one or several of the many candidates...they do a lot of hand-shaking, hugging, and kissing of cheeks (or is it butts?). I mentioned several times in the past that transiting Saturn squaring his Sun will induce tiredness...Saturn is now sq Bernie's Sun.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Yes, it's not at all surprising if he (and other candidates) fall prey to some virus or other, as well as laryngitis. What they all are doing, practically non-stop, would be enough to tire anyone, of any age.

Yes, you did predict it, Saturn square his Sun is an added challenge - well done you! :-)