Body Language: Barbara Kruger

June 29, 2021 - February 1, 2022
Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade

For the Gardner’s Ann H. Fitzpatrick Façade, Barbara Kruger created Body Language, a striking and provocative image of two overlapping bodies, using a detail from Titian’s painting Diana and Actaeon. By overlaying the image with text, Kruger invites us to reconsider the representation of women, power, and sexuality and to reflect on the art historical concept of “gaze.”

Body Language Banner outside the Isabella Stewart Gardner

Barbara Kruger, Body Language, 2021, Artist rendering

About the Artist

Barbara Kruger (born 1945, USA) is a conceptual artist and collagist known for creating works that combine directive captions with black-and-white photographs that she finds in mass media. Unlike advertising, which may ask a question to compel a purchase, Kruger’s work uses the same techniques to compel ethical change and to address cultural constructions of power, identity, consumerism, and sexuality. Her work has appeared in museums, on billboards, bus cards, posters, in public parks, on train station platforms, and in other public spaces. She has created site-specific installations with video, film, audio, and projection. Among her most famous pieces are I shop, therefore I am (1987) and Your body is a battleground (1985). 

In 2005, Kruger was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale, where she was also commissioned to design the facade of Italy’s national pavilion. Significant solo exhibitions have been organized internationally by such venues as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Palazzo delle Papesse - Centro Arte Contemporanea, Siena; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and the Amorepacific Museum of Art, Seoul. A major retrospective of Kruger’s work, will open at the Art Institute of Chicago in September 2021 and will include decades of large-scale installations, a museum-wide audio soundscape, multi-channel videos and rarely seen works created by the artist from the ’80s. The exhibition will travel to New York before heading to London and Los Angeles.

Kruger lives and works in New York and Los Angeles. She is a Distinguished Professor of New Genres at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.

Related Exhibitions

Related Exhibitions

Titian: Women, Myth & Power

Hostetter Gallery | August 12, 2021 - January 2, 2022

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley: The Rape of Europa

Fenway Gallery | August 12, 2021- January 2, 2022

The Artist-in-Residence program is directed by Pieranna Cavalchini, Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art, and is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Barbara Lee Program Fund. Funding is also provided for site-specific installations of new work on the Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade on Evans Way. The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.