Barbara Kruger’s installation at the Lever House on Park Avenue in New York via Lever House Collection
Whether we realize it or not, our daily lives are filled with multitudes of graphic and visual information. While reading a newspaper, watching television, walking on the street past countless advertisement, we constantly absorb information. It is this aspect of social and public sphere that Barbara Kruger exploits in her current installation at the Lever House in New York. A project commissioned by the real estate mogul Aby Rosen, whose collection features such names as Jeff Koons, George Condo, John Chamberlain, Keith Harring, and Barnaby Furnas, holds tight to its message of “an image is worth a thousand words.” The text as art exhibition, titled “Between Being Born and Dying” runs through November 21st, 2009.
Barbara Kruger “Between Being Born and Dying” installation [Lever House]
Barbara Kruger Bio [PBS]
Barbara Kruger at Lever House [Lindsay Pollock]
Helvetica at 50 [BBC News]
50 Years of Helvetica exhibition [MoMa]
More text and images after the jump…
Graphic appeal is one of the unquestionable strengths of Kruger’s installation via Lever House Collection
It is not coincidental that Barbara Kruger has adapted the verbal and textual content for her dynamic commentary of quotidian society. Having studied art and design with Diane Arbus at the Parsons School of Design in New York, Kruger developed a successful career in publishing working in graphic design and as an art director for Conde Nast publications, Aperture and others. Her well established body of work generally explores the notions of consumerism and communication media. Kruger’s tools are her pithy and often poignant slogans, questions and phrases, which confront, inform, and humor the viewer with their nonchalance.
Exterior of the Lever House installation via Lever House Collection
Similar to radio and advertising announcements Kruger’s words beckon one to “know nothing forget everything believe anything.” The stark contrast of black and white, the blunt manner in which these letters pop off clean and serene walls of the Lever House are distinct elements that force themselves to enter the viewers gaze. Political issues, feminisms, consumerism, individual autonomy, and desire, all enlist on the mission to engage the public on an intellectual level.
Entrance to the Lever House via Lever House Collection
Barbara Kruger carries out her messages in a condensed, ultra-modern Helvetica font. The typeface, designed by Max Meidinger and Edouard Hoffman some 52 years ago, was subject of the special exhibition “50 Years of Helvetica” held at the Museum of Modern Art April 2007 until March 2008. Its significance in everyday context is unmistakable and has appeared to soothe our lives via notes on our safety, travel, mailings, and other public communication. The smooth, clean lines create a neutral, universal and incredibly modern form, which Kruger uses to her advantage. Helvetica by the artist’s hand has gained a new dimension and proportion, one of an active participant in our social arena.
Interior installation view via Lever House Collection
One of Kruger’s slogans that faces a public courtyard via Lever House Collection
Condensed Helvetica transforms the inside lobby of the Lever House via Lever House Collection
Part of Barbara Kriger’s “Believe Anything” via Lever House Collection