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Huan on post modern conceptual art!

posted Feb 27, 2014, 6:19 AM by Quoc-Anh Vuong   [ updated Apr 1, 2014, 6:26 PM ]

Hello!  What a great session Huan and I had yesterday!  He continues to impress me with his knowledge and skills on the letter board! His personality is really shining through.  Huan is so sweet and a true humanitarian!  Here is our lesson on Barbara Kruger who is an artist currently showing at the Hirschhorn.  I did the same lesson with Ben and Emma who also did a great job!  I think we need to set up an outing and all go and see this exhibit!

Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger is an American conceptualist artist who uses mass communication and advertising to explore issues of gender, identity, power and culture. Conceptualist art is art in which the idea presented by the artist is considered more important than the finished product, if there is indeed a finished product.   Kruger is also known as a post-modern feminist artist.   Post modern is a term that came about in the 1970’s and refers to reactions against the modernism.  Specifically, postmodernism rejects the idea that ideas can claim a fixed or fundamental truth.  Essentially, post modernism encourages the viewer to question or form multiple ideas from the art.  

What is the name of the artist?  BARBARA KRUGER

What is one word that I used to describe her art? CONCEPTUAL

Tell me one theme Kruger explores in her art.  IDENTITY

Let’s talk about some of this vocabulary:
gender - MEN AND WOMEN

feminist/feminism - ABOUT WOMENS ISSUES

post modernism - MORE THAN ONE RESPONSE

Barbara Kruger started her career in print media, working for magazines such as Mademoiselle, Conde Nash (a travel magazine) and Vanity Fair.  In her art, Kruger takes images and words from mass media and merges them together.  Her viewer is engaged in the struggle for power and control that her captions address.  An exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, features text up to 12 feet high proclaiming words and phrases such as “WHO IS BEYONG THE LAW?”  “WHO SPEAKS” and “WHO IS SILENT”.

What did Kruger do in her early career?  MAGAZINES

Do you have a reaction to any of the phrases in Kruger’s exhibit?  WHO IS SILENT...."Why does this resonate with you?"  I LIVE IN SILENCE.  STOP THINKING THAT I AM NOT SMART.  

Barbara finds photographs from existing sources and merges them with aggressive text. The phrases in her works often include pronouns such as "you", "your", "I", "we", and "they".Next, she develops her ideas on a computer; later transferring the results to often billboard-sized images. Kruger’s signature colors are white, red and black and she uses Futura Bold Oblique or Helvetica Ultra Condensed font for her works.

Why do you think Kruger uses pronouns in her art? SO MORE PEOPLE CAN RELATE

Why do you think her color palate is red, white and black? THEY ARE BOLD COLORS THAT MATCH HER WORDS

Let’s take a look at some of her art…I showed Huan these images on my iPad.  He read the words aloud and I asked him a few questions that he answered verbally.  Although he was able to give me some very simple answers verbally.  It is so clear the difference in Huan's responses when they are verbal vs. spelled on the letter board.  This is very apparent in the video!

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Pick one of Kruger’s pieces and let’s talk about it. Huan chose the picture, "I shop therefore I am".  I asked him to tell me about the picture.

HAND HOLDING SIGN.....what do you think this picture is about....SHOPPING DOES NOT MAKE YOU HUMAN.....(Bam!  Succinct and perfect!)....what issue in the US does this speak to?....EXCESSIVE SPENDING....(another wow response!)

When Huan and I were looking at the picture of the man on the cell phone, we both kept stumbling over the word "exasperates", so I asked him, "Do you know what exasperates means?" FRUSTRATES (!!!!)

If you were creating a Barabara Kruger inspired art exhibit, tell me three words or phrases you would feature in your show. What kind of thoughts are you trying to provoke from your word choices?
"Is there a common theme with these words?" YES, MORE PEOPLE NEED TO THINK OF OTHERS RATHER THAN MONEY.  EVERYONE NEEDS TO HELP MAKE THE WORLD BETTER.  (These are the sensitive types of responses that I am coming to expect from Huan now!)

Such great work today!  I always leave our sessions with the biggest smile on my face!!!  Have a great week!  Elizabeth

Session Video