Barbara Kruger might not be a household name, but the artist’s signature graphic aesthetic is instantly familiar. Kruger’s bold, incisive style and her acidic wit is eminently on display in “Culture Vulture,” a new print commissioned by Lincoln Center’s Vera List Art Project, one of a range of exceptional prints by celebrated contemporary artists.
Kruger came to prominence in the 1970s Pictures-Generation era of Cindy Sherman, Martha Rosler, and Richard Prince. Like those artists, she twisted found visual language and images into pointed weapons battling the entrenched opinions of society. Kruger’s background in magazine design (she once worked at Condé Nast) made text an easy artistic tool.
Kruger’s work is about how language and commercial imagery shape our identities. In block text stamped on top of pictures appropriated from newspapers and advertising, Kruger confronts us with our own insecurities: “I shop therefore I am,” one iconic piece reads. “Your body is a battleground,” another states.
The Vera List Art Project’s “Culture Vulture” is similarly combative. We would all like to think of ourselves as fans of “culture,” but Kruger’s all-caps words turn the title into an insult as much as a point of pride. Just who are the vultures, and what do they prey on? There is a powerful ambivalence in the piece.
The 17.5-by-17-inch print is produced on heavyweight paper and features a textural background that emphasizes Kruger’s emphatic words. “Culture Vulture” is now on display in the lower concourse art gallery in the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and is available for purchase for $3,000 at Art.LincolnCenter.org or by contacting Vera List Art Project at [email protected] or 212-875-5061. Proceeds from the sale of the work will go toward supporting Lincoln Center’s innovative cultural programming.