Her works are in just about every contemporary collection in town and her bold Futura captions have been endlessly ripped off. But LACMA has put together a proper exhibition of the influential artist with “Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.”
The videos and large-scale vinyl wraps span four decades, while the audio soundscapes extend across the museum campus. It’s presented like a retrospective, albeit thematically instead of chronologically, but at the same time it’s introspective: Kruger has updated some of her recognizable works from the ’80s into animated videos, and an into gallery highlights the many T-shirts and memes that’ve appropriated her white-on-red captions.
Kruger’s works comment on consumerism, politics, power, identity and feminism in remarkably direct ways: Picturing “Greatness” points out how most of LACMA’s celebrated artists are white men, Untitled (Forever) fills an entire room with a black-and-white Virginia Woolf excerpt that begins with a very large “YOU,” while the cheeky Untitled (Selfie) asks visitors to love or hate themselves as voyeurs watch from elsewhere in the museum.