MASHUP – Barbara Kruger @ the VAG

kruger

MASHUP, the spring exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) is a challenging, exciting and massive exploration into, well, mashup, in all of its costumes.

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This is an extract from the VAG website for this show:

From the moment that Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque undertook the revolutionary gesture of adding a rectangle of floral wallpaper, a newspaper headline or a scrap of sheet music to their compositions, they initiated an immediate and fundamental shift in European art.
The resulting explosion of mashup strategies employed across media and movements offers the clearest evidence of the relevance of this process to the growth of visual culture during the 20th century. From Marcel Duchamp to Jean-Luc Godard, Liz Magor to Isa Genzken, artists of diverse disciplines have adopted and reworked this creative strategy.

www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_mashup.html

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This whole show is ambitious and it works, despite its size, complexity and scope. If you are within an attainable bubble of time and space, don’t miss it. If you aren’t check out the VAG website, given above. However, take note, this is a viewing experience that calls for more than a single visit if you want more from art than a passing graze.

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This and my next few posts will be connected to Mashup but focused on works in the show, like Barbara Kruger, that incorporate or talk about text… are text based, because that is the central nervous system and passion of this blog.

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The faux ‘classical’ VAG foyer containing the site specific Barbara Kruger installation stopped me in my tracks and is a brilliant example of mashup itself, overlaying pastiche with pastiche. Kruger’s towering text and billboard size emoji fill the architectural space in perfectly congruous incongruity. The artist may have shed her use of images but she has not lost her searing ability to critique society and open our eyes and minds.

This is a photo of and the VAG write-up for Barbara Kruger: (click to enlarge)

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DSC00167I have posted about Barbara Kruger in the past if you are interested in seeing some of her earlier work.

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The first photograph in this post is from the VAG’s website, (thank you VAG). The photo of Ms. Kruger is from Google Images.  The remainder above and below are by me.

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In case you are unable to make out the context from the photos they are as follows:

The Floor:

AND ABOVE ALL…BEWARE OF ASSUMING THE STERILE ATTITUDE OF A SPECTATOR. FOR LIFE IS NOT A SPECTACLE.

FOR A SEA OF MISERIES IS NOT A PROSCENIUM.

A MAN SCREAMING IS NOT A DANCING BEAR.

The Lower Wall:

PERFECT ORDER IS THE FORERUNNER OF PERFECT HORROR.

Above Stairs:

THE GLOBE SHRINKS FOR THOSE THAT OWN IT

and above that:

NAME  GAME CLAIM  MAIM  BLAME  SHAME  TAME

 

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9 thoughts on “MASHUP – Barbara Kruger @ the VAG

  1. Great to see this show of Kruger’s work John…… It has come so far from when I first saw her at Mary Boone in NYC in the late 80’s. Love the way her work dominates and makes use of every feature of the architecture creating an almost Escher-like experience!

    1. I loved her work in the 80s and still love it. I had lost touch with what she is doing now so it was quite a breathtaking entrance to the exhibition. And this is only one of 370 artworks in this show! (156 artists) I’m camping out there…I’m a happy camper. I liked your “almost Escher-like experience!”

    1. I scanned the VAG site briefly but didn’t see any mention of it traveling. Its here til June. If I hear anything I’ll let you know. Thank you for your kind words Chrissy.

    1. You’re welcome Jo Nell, this is her contemporary work and a good introduction. Check out my link above to take a peek at where she’s been. Yes, it was a trip walking into this, i felt as if i had shrunk to ant size and was entering a page in a novel.

    1. Thanks Steven, yes, amazing and enveloping, in both form and context. So many of my posts have been explorations into, as you put it so well, “The whole question or challenge of text in visual art…” Fascinating to me. I have chosen only text related art from this huge and multi-faceted exhibition.

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