artist / participant
Barbara Kruger. Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…)
Adjacent to the High Line at West 22nd Street
Barbara Kruger is an American artist who works with pictures and words. Kruger uses the fluency she developed as a graphic designer for publications such as Mademoiselle, House & Garden, and Aperture, to inform her work as an artist, insistently addressing the issues of power, property, money, race, and sexuality. Over the past three decades her work has ranged from the photographic merging of image and text, to immersive video installations, to room-wrapping textual exhibitions, to large-scale outdoor displays of words and images. Two of her best-known works – Untitled (Your body is a battleground) and Untitled (I shop therefore I am) – also showcase the feminist overtones of her artworks, and her concentration on women as a lucrative site for advertising and consumerism.
For the High Line, Kruger presents Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…), a new work realized as a hand-painted mural. Continuing her unabashed criticism of culture and power, the mural features the slogan “BLIND IDEALISM IS REACTIONARY SCARY DEADLY,” an adaptation of a quote from Afro-Caribbean philosopher and revolutionary thinker Frantz Fanon, which has appeared in multiple works by the artist. The original statement by Fanon, “Blind idealism is reactionary,” suggests that political and religious convictions stem from the situations from which they grow, not from the inherent nature of individual human beings. According to Kruger, the work reflects “how we are to one another” within “the days and nights that construct us.” These texts, along with Kruger’s own writings, resonate with particular potency in today’s political climate.
Barbara Kruger (b. 1945, United States) lives and works in Los Angeles and New York. Recent solo exhibitions include the Modern Art Oxford, UK (2014); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2013); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2012); and Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2010). Notable group exhibitions include MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture, Vancouver Art Gallery (2016); Fire and Forget: On Violence, KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin (2015); Pop Departures, Seattle Art Museum, Washington (2014); Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); Not Yet Titled, Museum Ludwig Köln, Germany (2013); and Homebodies, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2013). Her work has been featured in numerous major international exhibitions including the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014, 1988); the Singapore Biennale (2006); the Venice Biennale (2005, 1982); and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1987, 1985, 1983).