Barbara Kruger’s art is easily one of the most recognizable on the planet. Characterized by the bold white Futura1 Oblique and sometimes caps locked sans serif, her artwork forces audiences to take a hard look at the institutions that she satirizes. Both direct and political, her art is designed to question the modern political and democratic process while challenging societal notions of sexism, consumerism and corruption.
How Kruger influenced culture
Thanks to powerful slogans like “Money can buy you love”, as well as “I shop therefore I am”, her artwork can be found all over the globe in famous art spaces and on the surfaces and roofs of certain buildings. Today, her iconoclastic controversies have become so popular with contemporary audiences, much more than they were all those years when she started out. As a result, her work has been replicated hundreds of times by musicians and modern brands, most notably currently being the distinguished skate brand known as Supreme.
What font is used in Barbara Kruger’s art?
As stated earlier, Barbara primarily uses slogans written in oblique Futura bold type or sans serif in caps lock to communicate her messages. The backgrounds against which she embellishes her phrases are legible and usually accompanied by a color palette of reds, blacks and whites.
What makes her style unique?
Most of the slogans are pasted across black and white photographs derived from mid-century magazines. Like other pop artists that were successful before her, such as Andy Warhol, Kruger has managed to develop a style that is distinctly hers. This probably explains why it has been so easy for her style to be recreated beyond galleries to become included in both mainstream and digital culture.
What makes her work so powerful
In juxtaposing phrases with black and white photography, Kruger borrows from her experience in advertising and graphic design to disrupt the voice of today’s mass media. She delivers her messages directly to her audience as she often uses phrases like ’we’ and ’you’ to discuss central issues in society. Because of her bold use of fonts and her short but powerful slogans, the audience never ignores her work.
About the artist
Barbara began making her ground-breaking artwork during the 1970s after a long career in the magazine industry as a designer and picture editor. After her professional experience working in an industry that is all about perfection and consumerism, Kruger was inspired to create art that would question these points of view. Aside from being featured in some of the top galleries in the world, her work has also been printed on several mediums, including films and tote bags, as well as interior work and immersive films.
All images by Barbara Kruger/spruethmagers.com unless otherwise noted.
Videos: Barbara Kruger speaks about her work
By the National Gallery of Art, Washington
By the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt