Direct, daring, acerbic and witty, Barbara Kruger’s work has never shied away from interrogating our most conventional beliefs or the dogmas of our present age.

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Who?), 2020
Print on vinyl
Installation view, Los Angeles

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Who?), 2020
Print on vinyl
Installation view, Los Angeles

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Who?), 2020
Print on vinyl
Installation view, Los Angeles

Details
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Who?), 2020
Print on vinyl
Installation view, Los Angeles

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Who?), 2020
Print on vinyl
Installation view, Los Angeles

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Who?), 2020
Print on vinyl
Installation view, Los Angeles

Details
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Starting with Untitled (Who?) (2020), Kruger’s most recent work installed on the facade of the Los Angeles gallery until January 15, 2021, the online exhibition Questions surveys some of her most important text-based, large-scale installations in the US and across the world.

Untitled (Who?) asks a series of questions in English and Spanish, including WHO DO YOU BELIEVE? WHO DO YOU HURT? WHO DO YOU HATE? and ¿QUIÉN ES EL QUE AMAS? After a nail-biting US presidential election in an era of increasingly divisive political rhetoric in America, as well as ongoing debates about racism and a global pandemic, Kruger’s questions take on a heightened significance.

 

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (We don’t need another hero), 1986
Billboard project, Artangel, London

The task of asking and inciting difficult questions in a public setting, whether implied or direct, has always been at the core of Kruger’s oeuvre. The early work Untitled (We don’t need another hero) (1986), mounted on seventeen billboards in fourteen cities across the UK and Ireland in January and February 1987, challenged thousands of pedestrians who encountered the surprising billboard where they might normally expect an advertisement. A nostalgic, apple-pie boy flexes his bicep, accompanied by a girl who reaches out to touch his arm, with an expression of surprise, or perhaps ironic awe. The work confronted the public with what looked like propaganda promoting cliched gender roles, overlaid by a command to reject the values promulgated by the image.

Details
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (We don’t need another hero), 1986
Billboard project, Artangel, London

Details
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The task of asking and inciting difficult questions in a public setting, whether implied or direct, has always been at the core of Kruger’s oeuvre. The early work Untitled (We don’t need another hero) (1986), mounted on seventeen billboards in fourteen cities across the UK and Ireland in January and February 1987, challenged thousands of pedestrians who encountered the surprising billboard where they might normally expect an advertisement. A nostalgic, apple-pie boy flexes his bicep, accompanied by a girl who reaches out to touch his arm, with an expression of surprise, or perhaps ironic awe. The work confronted the public with what looked like propaganda promoting cliched gender roles, overlaid by a command to reject the values promulgated by the image.

One of Kruger’s best-known works, Untitled (Your body is a battleground) (1990) was designed as a poster for a pro-choice art sale to benefit the National Abortion Rights Action League in New York City following the 1989 Women’s March on Washington in support of legal abortion. In 1990, the posters were fly-posted across New York City. A direct, activist intervention in a civic space, Kruger’s characteristic black-and-white image overlaid with a slogan highlighted an acutely divisive subject in American politics at the time—and still today, if not an enduring issue across the globe.

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Street documentation of Barbara Kruger’s Poster for Arts Pro-Choice art sale and benefit for the National Abortion Rights Action League, New York City, 1990

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1990
Poster for Arts Pro-Choice art sale and benefit for the National Abortion Rights Action League, New York City

Details
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Street documentation of Barbara Kruger’s Poster for Arts Pro-Choice art sale and benefit for the National Abortion Rights Action League, New York City, 1990

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1990
Poster for Arts Pro-Choice art sale and benefit for the National Abortion Rights Action League, New York City

Details
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One of Kruger’s best-known works, Untitled (Your body is a battleground) (1990) was designed as a poster for a pro-choice art sale to benefit the National Abortion Rights Action League in New York City following the 1989 Women’s March on Washington in support of legal abortion. In 1990, the posters were fly-posted across New York City. A direct, activist intervention in a civic space, Kruger’s characteristic black-and-white image overlaid with a slogan highlighted an acutely divisive subject in American politics at the time—and still today, if not an enduring issue across the globe.

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 1990/2018
Reinstallation at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, October 20, 2018–November 30, 2020
Courtesy the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Photo: Elon Schoenholz

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 1990
Installation view, south wall of the Temporary Contemporary (now The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Details
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 1990/2018
Reinstallation at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, October 20, 2018–November 30, 2020
Courtesy the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Photo: Elon Schoenholz

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 1990
Installation view, south wall of the Temporary Contemporary (now The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

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The late 1980s and early 1990s were tumultuous years in the US, particularly an ongoing clash between religious conservatives and progressive scholars and creatives that spawned the so-called “Culture Wars.” It was this environment, in part, that spurred Kruger to make what was at the time her largest work to date, Untitled (Questions) (1990), installed across an entire facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA). The questions emblazoned on the wall—such as WHO IS FREE TO CHOOSE? WHO DOES TIME? WHO IS BEYOND THE LAW? WHO IS BOUGHT AND SOLD?—offered a bold challenge to the religious right, who at the time was attacking the work of artists they considered amoral. This fight has shown few signs of fading over the past thirty years, and Kruger revived the work for MOCA in 2018, reinstalling it on an adjacent facade amid the present censorious climate of the alt-right, Trumpian rhetoric and other forces of oppression. The work will remain in place through November 30, 2020.

 

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, 2003
Installation view, Cologne

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, 2003
Installation view, Cologne

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, 2003
Installation view, Cologne

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, 2003
Installation view, Cologne

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, 2003
Installation view, Cologne

Kruger is always aware of setting, and the same group of questions can resonate in different ways depending on the context in which they are installed. In 2003, Kruger redeployed some of the same questions she used on MOCA’s facade on the floor of St. Peter’s Church in Cologne, with an enormous photograph of a woman’s hands, folded together in prayer. Across the space between her wrists, in Kruger’s trademark white-on-red typography, there were four questions:

Wer salutiert am längsten? [Who salutes longest?]
Wer betet am lautesten? [Who prays loudest?]
Wer stirbt zuerst? [Who dies first?]
Wer lacht zuletzt? [Who laughs last?]

Presented in the hushed, spiritual setting of a Gothic church, the combination of the hands and the questions appeared less forthrightly political and more a call to balance and compassion.

Details
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, 2003
Installation view, Cologne

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, 2003
Installation view, Cologne

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, 2003
Installation view, Cologne

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, 2003
Installation view, Cologne

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, 2003
Installation view, Cologne

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 5

Kruger is always aware of setting, and the same group of questions can resonate in different ways depending on the context in which they are installed. In 2003, Kruger redeployed some of the same questions she used on MOCA’s facade on the floor of St. Peter’s Church in Cologne, with an enormous photograph of a woman’s hands, folded together in prayer. Across the space between her wrists, in Kruger’s trademark white-on-red typography, there were four questions:

Wer salutiert am längsten? [Who salutes longest?]
Wer betet am lautesten? [Who prays loudest?]
Wer stirbt zuerst? [Who dies first?]
Wer lacht zuletzt? [Who laughs last?]

Presented in the hushed, spiritual setting of a Gothic church, the combination of the hands and the questions appeared less forthrightly political and more a call to balance and compassion.

A decade later in the same German city, Kruger brought another set of questions directly to the street, wrapping a Cologne city bus in a series of texts, including WHERE ARE YOU GOING? WHO ARE YOU? and WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? Public transportation has frequently been a site for the artist’s projects, with guaranteed access to potentially thousands of spectators. In 2017, Kruger emblazoned a tunnel in Mexico City’s Metro Bellas Artes subway station with her striking repertoire of statements and questions. Printed in the colors of the Mexican flag, Untitled (Empatia) greeted commuters with a cacophony of words and letters encircling them as they walked through them—a reflection of the hectic atmosphere of the setting.

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Bus wrap project for Museum Ludwig / Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe-AG, 2013
Installation view, Cologne

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Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Empatía), 2016
Installation view, Metro Bellas Artes subway station, Mexico City

More Views
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Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Bus wrap project for Museum Ludwig / Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe-AG, 2013
Installation view, Cologne

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Bus wrap project for Museum Ludwig / Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe-AG, 2013
Installation view, Cologne

Bus wrap project for Museum Ludwig / Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe-AG, 2013
Installation view, Cologne

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Bus wrap project for Museum Ludwig / Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe-AG, Cologne, Germany, 2013
Vinyl bus wrap

Bus wrap project for Museum Ludwig / Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe-AG, Cologne, Germany, 2013
Vinyl bus wrap

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Empatía), 2016
Installation view, Metro Bellas Artes subway station, Mexico City

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Empatía), 2016
Installation view, Metro Bellas Artes subway station, Mexico City

Untitled (Empatía), 2016
Installation view, Metro Bellas Artes subway station, Mexico City

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 2

A decade later in the same German city, Kruger brought another set of questions directly to the street, wrapping a Cologne city bus in a series of texts, including WHERE ARE YOU GOING? WHO ARE YOU? and WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? Public transportation has frequently been a site for the artist’s projects, with guaranteed access to potentially thousands of spectators. In 2017, Kruger emblazoned a tunnel in Mexico City’s Metro Bellas Artes subway station with her striking repertoire of statements and questions. Printed in the colors of the Mexican flag, Untitled (Empatia) greeted commuters with a cacophony of words and letters encircling them as they walked through them—a reflection of the hectic atmosphere of the setting.

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Skate), 2017, site-specific installation at Coleman Skatepark in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, commissioned for Performa 17. Courtesy Performa

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Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Skate), 2017, site-specific installation at Coleman Skatepark in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, commissioned for Performa 17. Courtesy Performa

A commission from Performa in 2017 brought Kruger’s project to a skate park under the Manhattan Bridge. Here, in a crucible of youth culture, the artist’s questions intertwined with the swift movements of skateboarders. Again, the context transformed the impact of her queries. Where we might normally expect to see street art and graffiti, we discover instead pronouncements such as WHOSE HOPES? WHOSE FEARS? and WANT IT. NEED IT. BUY IT. that call out in red and white amidst the ramps and curves of the skate park, as if Kruger’s words expressed the thoughts and worries of the skaters themselves.

 

Kruger’s appetite to ask tough questions and support political causes remains undimmed, and she continues to alter the fabric of urban spaces, especially in her adopted hometown of Los Angeles, with a range of demanding installations. In 2017, she mounted the question CAN MONEY BUY YOU LOVE? in vast letters across the exterior of the Beverly Center while it was under renovation—a conspicuous interrogation of consumerism on the facade of one of the city’s more prominent shopping centers.

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Can money buy you love?), 2017
Installation view, Beverly Center, Los Angeles
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Details
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Can money buy you love?), 2017
Installation view, Beverly Center, Los Angeles
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Details
icon_fullscreen
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Kruger’s appetite to ask tough questions and support political causes remains undimmed, and she continues to alter the fabric of urban spaces, especially in her adopted hometown of Los Angeles, with a range of demanding installations. In 2017, she mounted the question CAN MONEY BUY YOU LOVE? in vast letters across the exterior of the Beverly Center while it was under renovation—a conspicuous interrogation of consumerism on the facade of one of the city’s more prominent shopping centers.

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2020
20 questions displayed on digital billboards, light pole banners, murals, print and digital media around Los Angeles
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2020
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2020
20 questions displayed on digital billboards, light pole banners, murals, print and digital media around Los Angeles
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2020
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2020
20 questions displayed on digital billboards, light pole banners, murals, print and digital media around Los Angeles
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2020
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2020
20 questions displayed on digital billboards, light pole banners, murals, print and digital media around Los Angeles
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2020
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2020
20 questions displayed on digital billboards, light pole banners, murals, print and digital media around Los Angeles
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2020
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Details
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2020
20 questions displayed on digital billboards, light pole banners, murals, print and digital media around Los Angeles
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2020
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2020
20 questions displayed on digital billboards, light pole banners, murals, print and digital media around Los Angeles
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2020
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2020
20 questions displayed on digital billboards, light pole banners, murals, print and digital media around Los Angeles
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2020
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2020
20 questions displayed on digital billboards, light pole banners, murals, print and digital media around Los Angeles
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2020
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2020
20 questions displayed on digital billboards, light pole banners, murals, print and digital media around Los Angeles
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2020
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Details
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“I wish that the issues I’m dealing with weren’t pertinent. But unfortunately, these issues of power and control and disaster are ongoing.” – Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Who is housed when money talks), 2020
Project for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Los Angeles
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2019
Project for Frieze Los Angeles
Adhesive vinyl stickers
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2019
Project for Frieze Los Angeles
Adhesive vinyl stickers
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2019
Project for Frieze Los Angeles
Adhesive vinyl stickers
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

For Frieze Los Angeles 2019, Untitled (Questions) (2019) saw dozens of eye-catching green stickers pop up seemingly at random on sidewalks and surfaces near a dozen Los Angeles art spaces, asking pedestrians WHO WILL WRITE THE HISTORY OF TEARS? and ARE YOU HUNGRY? alongside other questions. Untitled (Who is housed when money talks?) (2020) was created for the Rental Affordability Act campaign headquarters on Sunset Boulevard in January 2020 in response to the city’s escalating homelessness and housing crisis. Her questions were then revived and expanded to monumental effect the following month for Frieze Los Angeles 2020. Untitled (Questions) (2020) featured installations across LA on street banners, billboards and walls, and at Union Station and the Banc of California Stadium, among other prominent locations. Once again permeating public spaces from transportation hubs to sports arenas to major traffic intersections, Kruger’s questions usurped the usual locus of commercialism and advertising, and—as so many of her works have done before—urged viewers from all walks of life, including herself, to formulate their own answers to them.

Details
Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Who is housed when money talks), 2020
Project for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Los Angeles
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2019
Project for Frieze Los Angeles
Adhesive vinyl stickers
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2019
Project for Frieze Los Angeles
Adhesive vinyl stickers
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Barbara Kruger – Questions – Online

Untitled (Questions), 2019
Project for Frieze Los Angeles
Adhesive vinyl stickers
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 4

For Frieze Los Angeles 2019, Untitled (Questions) (2019) saw dozens of eye-catching green stickers pop up seemingly at random on sidewalks and surfaces near a dozen Los Angeles art spaces, asking pedestrians WHO WILL WRITE THE HISTORY OF TEARS? and ARE YOU HUNGRY? alongside other questions. Untitled (Who is housed when money talks?) (2020) was created for the Rental Affordability Act campaign headquarters on Sunset Boulevard in January 2020 in response to the city’s escalating homelessness and housing crisis. Her questions were then revived and expanded to monumental effect the following month for Frieze Los Angeles 2020. Untitled (Questions) (2020) featured installations across LA on street banners, billboards and walls, and at Union Station and the Banc of California Stadium, among other prominent locations. Once again permeating public spaces from transportation hubs to sports arenas to major traffic intersections, Kruger’s questions usurped the usual locus of commercialism and advertising, and—as so many of her works have done before—urged viewers from all walks of life, including herself, to formulate their own answers to them.

Untitled (Questions), 2019 (detail)
Project for Frieze Los Angeles 2019
Adhesive vinyl stickers