Anna McNay

Review of Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You at Serpentine South, London


Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You

Serpentine South, London
1 February – 17 March 2024

I admit to never having paid much attention to Barbara Kruger (b1945, Newark, New Jersey, US) before visiting this exhibition, which certainly speaks for the fact that I had only encountered her works in passing in books. In the flesh – or certainly, insofar as my experience now extends, in the gallery context – they cannot be ignored, shouting loudly, concisely and powerfully in their tabloid black, white and red sans serif typeface (Kruger uses mainly Futura Bold, with the occasional foray into Futura Bold Oblique or Helvetica Ultra Compressed). A longstanding fan of Jenny Holzer, I mistakenly thought I had Kruger “covered”. While, yes, they may be considered under the same umbrella as female American conceptual artists who use typography as a major component of their work, and, as Kruger says, who “share an understanding of how power circulates through culture, how it bestows on some and withholds from others”,1 there is far more finesse to each of their oeuvres than this simple reductionism allows for. Kruger’s work, it turns out, is as poetic as it is urgent, and her statements – more often than not, in fact, questions – while speaking for and to the many, are nevertheless the product of her uniquely personal trajectory and experience.


Read my full review here