Barbara Kruger, “Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.” Photo by Emile Askey. Courtesy of the artist and the MoMA.

Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.
A Solo Exhibition Presented by The Museum of Modern Art
July 16th, 2022 – January 2nd, 2023
11 West 53rd St. Manhattan, NY 10019

On July 16th, 2022, Barbara Kruger’s newest exhibition, “Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.” opened within MoMA’s Marron Family Atrium. Kruger’s work centers around strongly worded phrases that invoke deep thought and contemplation. The bold text centers around truth, power, and the horrors of war. Kruger is able to uncover the depths of one’s lived fears and desires, the tug and pull, in this architectural battlefield.

“I try to make work that joins the seductions of wishful thinking with the criticality of knowing better.” – Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger, “Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.” Photo by Emile Askey. Courtesy of the artist and the MoMA.

“Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.is organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, while the installation is organized by Peter Eleey and Lanka Tattersall. 

Barbara Kruger was born in Newark on January 26th, 1945. She pursued a degree in art and design studies at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Growing up amidst the heightened age of commercial advertising, Kruger channeled her ideals through her innovative, unapologetic art. Kruger has an impressive career starting as a page designer at Condè Nast and a picture editor for Mademoiselle and House & Garden.

In addition to her immense knowledge of cultural images, societal impact and experience in the industry. Kruger compiled her experience, beliefs, and environment to create stimulating art through large graphic design and text. Often in Futura Bold Oblique and Helvetica Ultra Compressed, the words demand attention and redirect the focus to cultural and societal issues of power. 

Kruger’s past artwork addressed hot political topics, societal stigmas, and cultural bounds, even as they are morphing. From “Untitled (You Invest in the Divinity of the Masterpiece)” (1982) to “Untitled (We will no longer be seen and not heard)” (1985), Kruger showcased the ability of text and large image as art to create forceful waves. Her popular piece, “Untitled (Your body is a battleground)” (1989), was re-born from a rejected Planned Parenthood poster to ground-breaking artwork. More importantly, Kruger showcased her opinion on reproductive rights in an unapologetic manner.

With the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade, Kruger’s poster has resurfaced, but the rebellious artist wishes it hadn’t.

“It would be kind of good if my work became archaic.” – Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger, “Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.” Photo by Emile Askey. Courtesy of the artist and the MoMA.

“Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.” is a provocative show from Kruger, with large text covering every inch of the installation. The art forms multiple perspectives by directly addressing the viewer. Any animation is stripped, leaving only black and white text, imposing every inch of space to create a feeling of confinement.

With the combination of architecture and art, the installation demands the viewer to analyze their own relationship with consumerism and its relationship to political power. A dizzying experience, Kruger invites the question of dominance vs. agency and inclusion vs. exclusion with its relativity in society. 

 “My work has always been about power and control and bodies and money and that kind of stuff.” – Barbara Kruger

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