Barbara Kruger Lesson


Barbara Kruger was born January 26, 1945 in Newark, New Jersey, U.S.

This Barbara Kruger Lesson reviews a conceptual artist and film critic. She received her education from Syracuse University, Parsons School of Design, and the School of Visual Arts in New York. Early in her art career, she was a graphic designer, art director, and picture editor in the art departments at Mademoiselle, House and Garden,  and other publications. This greatly influenced her later work as an artist. Her highly recognized style combines images and text addressing cultural representations of power, identity, and sexuality while challenging stereotypes and clichés. Her work has been written about or included in numerous publications.”


She is an American feminist artist who challenged cultural assumptions by manipulating images and text in her photographic compositions.  Kruger attended Syracuse (New York) University and continued her training in 1966 at New York City's Parsons School of Design. For a time she pursued a career as a graphic designer, eventually becoming a chief designer in the publications field.

“The juxtaposition of word and image in Barbara Kruger's highly recognizable work is derived from twelve years as a designer and photo editor for Condé Nast publications.  Short, pithy caption-like copy is scattered over fragmented and enlarged photographs appropriated from various media.  Usually declarative or accusatory in tone, these phrases posit an opposition between the pronouns "you" and "we," which satirically refer to "men" and "women."  These humorous works suspend the viewer between the fascination of the image and the indictment of the text while reminding us that language and its use within culture to construct and maintain proverbs, jobs, jokes, myths, and history reinforce the interests and perspective of those who control it ((Day 69). 

(--Cf. John Berger's Ways of Seeing Chap 3.; Craig Owen, "The Discourse of Others," The Anti-Aesthetic.  Ed. Hal Foster.  pp. 65-90.”)

Barbara Kruger Lesson / Analysis

Describe one of the images above in at least one paragraph.

  • Use 10 point type; double space.
  • Turn in your description on one page or less.
  • Remember that writing about art can be divided into three parts: description, interpretation, evaluation.

The analysis part of this assignment is to write a description paragraph only.

Barbara Kruger Lesson / Vocabulary

Write a definition of the following words in complete sentences:

  • to appropriate (v.) 
  • juxtaposition (n.) 
  • conceptual (adj.) 
  • to posit (v.)
  • feminism (n.) 
  • stereotype (n.) 
  • to indict (v.)  

Barbara Kruger Lesson / Project

In Photoshop create a  new file:

  • Custom Size = 4” x 6”
  • Resolution = 300 ppi
  • Mode = RGB
  • Contents = white
  • Create a new layer;
  • Paint a background color with the paint bucket or the gradient tool.
  • Create one or more new layers to copy your main image(s) to.
  • Copy, place or import an image to these layers.
  • Select the Text tool and click on your image window.
  • When you do this, a new layer is automatically created.
  • Type your comment, slogan, or remark.
  • Color and Size your text.
  • Create a new layer.
  • Use the marquee tool to draw a rectangle that is larger that your text.
  • Use the paint bucket, gradient tool or other coloring tool to color this rectangle selection.
  • Move this rectangle layer below your text to serve as a background and highlight for your text.
  • You can control the appearance of your image in a variety of ways:
  • Levels
  • Layer Transparency
  • Merge down
  • Filters
  • etc.
  • Save your work as a tiff or raw image on your computer.
  • Save your work as a JPG image.
  • You must flatten your image before you can select the jpg file format.
  • Drag and Drop your JPG image in the Teachers Drop Box

Barbara Kruger Lesson / files due to Instructor

  1. Description (smith_j_desc01)
  2. Vocabulary (smith_j_voc01)
  3. Image (smith_j_krug.jpg)

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