Studio Sunday: Barbara Kruger
Here’s a great photograph of Barbara Kruger in her work space for Studio Sunday. Kruger is an American artist best known for her photo and text collage works that she began producing in the late 80’s. The works tend to deal with political and social issues including the rights of women and minorities.
In this image, the artist’s studio looks somewhat stark, but very much like the classic New York art studio that I tend to picture at the mention of such spaces. Behind Kruger is a pair of large windows that might be smudged or blurred by the photograph, but seem to lend curiously little information about what might be outside, beyond them. Various wires snake out of the wall, at least one powering a large lamp on the right side of the image. Seeing this lamp I get a really vivid image of Kruger working on her designs late into the night.
The huge table that Kruger is sitting at would be a necessity for such a practice. Much of the artist’s work involved cutting out and cropping photos or creating neat strips of text to be laid over and affixed to them. This type of collage-based work certainly benefits from a large flat work surface. Kruger herself looks deep in thought, as if she’s looking at some research materials or a work in progress that sits just outside the photo frame.
In recent decades the artist’s works have become even more heavily text-based and on a larger scale. The messages themselves are still highly political and address issues of identity, consumerism and sexuality. Artworks like these are difficult to ignore and often have a jarring violence to them when seen up close, in stark red, black and white colours with big block letters.