Introduction to Contemporary Art
18 November 2018
Art Critique of “Untitled (Pro-Life for the Unborn/Pro-Death for the Born)” by Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger is an American artist born in Newark, New Jersey in 1945. She grew up in a “typical” suburban household, and after graduating high school briefly attended Syracuse University before moving on to the Parsons School of Design. She was greatly influenced by her instructors, such as artist Diane Arbus and graphic designer Marvin Israel. Sometime later, Kruger’s work transformed from storytelling and photography to what we recognize as hers today. She is now well known for her limited color palette and commentary on social issues, like politics and feminism. The work shown above is her “Untitled (Pro-Life for the Unborn/Pro-Death for the Born)” which was produced between 2000 and 2004.
There is not much complexity to this piece in terms of its’ components. Kruger chose a found image, then added statements that she deemed meaningful toward the image. This piece includes an image of the forty-third President of the United States, George W. Bush. The photo is gritty and set in black and white, which is not unusual for Kruger. It appears to be the “fuzz” of an old television. Above the image, there is a statement above in bold print, that states, “Pro-life for the unborn.” Below the image, Kruger places “Pro-death for the born.”
The structure of the statements in this piece is visually symmetrical and parallel in vocabulary. The terms “Pro-Life” and “Pro-death” and “unborn” with “born” are stimulating visually in similarity, as well as thoughtfully in contrast. In this way, Kruger wants her...