Barbara Kruger

What do you see?
What do you notice?
What does this mean?
Is this advertising?
What do you see?
What do you notice?
What does this mean?
Is this advertising?
What do you see?
What do you notice?
What does this mean?
Is this advertising?
All of these images were created by an artist named
Jenny Holzer. They are a part of a series called
What is a truism?
A claim that is so obvious or self-evident as to hardly be
worth mentioning, except as a reminder. It can also be a
saying about people or an accepted truth about life in
About the Artist:
Whether questioning consumer impulses, coldly
describing torture or lamenting death and disease, Jenny
Holzer’s use of language provokes a critical response in
the viewer. While her work often blends in among
advertisements in public space, its arresting content
violates expectations. Her text has appeared on posters,
as electronic LED signs and as projections.
T-shirt worn by
Lady Pink,
New York,1983.Text:
Jenny Holzer
79Spectacolor electronic
sign. Times Square, New
York, 1986.
Jenny Holzer
Truisms"19771979Spectacolor electronic
sign, Times Square, New
York, 1982.
Examples of other Holzer’s TRUISMS
A little knowledge can go a long way
Action causes more trouble than thought
Humor is a release
Knowing yourself lets you understand
Revolution begins with changes in the
Selflessness is the highest achievement
"NHI: No Humans Involved" was a
mulitdiciplinary project addressing the low
priority given to the investigation of the
serial murder of 45 women in San
Diego.The projecct included two
billboards, a temporary storefront
gallery, a book written by the aritsts, a
performance and a panel discussion.
(1992)Deborah Small
Elizabeth Sisco Carla Kirkwood Scott
Kessler Louis Hock
What do you see?
What do you notice?
What does this mean?
Is this advertising?
What do you see?
What do you notice?
What does this mean?
Is this advertising?
Barbara Kruger's Your Body is a
Battleground (1989) is a political
poster in support of a 1973
decision by the Supreme Court
of the United States in Roe v.
Wade, a ruling that formed the
basis for legalized abortion in
the United States. The poster
was used to promote a march
on Washington opposing the
Bush administration's attempts
to overturn the Roe v. Wade
ruling in April of 1989. In this
poster, a woman’s face, divided
into a photographic positive and
its negative, stares directly at
the viewer. Superimposed on
this image is the text “Your Body
is a Battleground,” a political
slogan previously used by
Vietnam War protesters during
the late 1960s
What do you see?
What do you notice?
What does this mean?
Is this advertising?
Kruger's experiments with text- and
photo-based collage have become
iconic, with their black-and-white photos,
red backgrounds and futura-bold-italic
font. This image, an apparent indictment
of consumerism, was used by
Bloomingdale's for tote bags and t-shirts.
Barbara Kruger is a conceptual artist and
former graphic designer based out of
New York and Los Angeles. Throughout
much of her work, Kruger utilizes a
graphic design style that confuses the
boundaries between art and marketing a technique which helps draw attention
to the role of advertising in public debate.
Kruger has developed a reputation for
making provocative commentaries on
religion, sexuality, racial and gender
stereotypes, consumerism, corporate
greed, and power. In their trademark
black letters against a slash of red
background, some of her instantly
recognizable slogans read “I shop
therefore I am,” and “Your body is a
battleground." Throughout her morethan-30-year career, she has scrutinized
not only how we behave, but how we
appear to behave, to one another.
"I try to make work about
we are to one another,"
“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.” –
Barbara Kruger
I think that all sorts of art activities,
whether written, played, or visualized,
are attempts to send messages from one
person to another. I don’t think of it as
news, but rather as a kind of condensed
communication conveyed with a deep
and startling economy." Barbara Kruger
Thinking about the power of text and
image, we are going to be creating a
second advertisement based on
Kruger’s style of work. We will be
combining our own original black and
white photo with text that promotes a
message of concern in our
lives/society. You will have to think
about the “Truths” in your own lives
and construct an effective poster that
conveys your given message.
Student Examples