In the HBO series, “In Treatment,” a therapist uses text-art therapy to help patients. The show’s creator and executive producer, Sarah Treem, says that she was inspired by her own experience with therapy.
Kruger’s you-me text-art evokes therapy sessions in TV Series ‘In Treatment’ is a work of art that has been on display at the Tate Modern in London. The work of art is based off a text conversation between two people, and it illustrates how violence can be used as an illustration of a pathetic stereotype.
Barbara Kruger has been stressing the idea that words matter for almost 40 years. She accomplishes so by superimposing red-lettered words from popular culture over black-and-white images from popular publications. You’re not going to enjoy this if you’re a Kruger fan.
A photograph of a woman’s face split down the middle – one half-developed film and the other a negative – with the statement “Your Body Is A Battleground” is perhaps her best-known piece. In feminist jargon, the “body” is the battleground for reproductive rights.
But, if we take a step back from feminism (which Kruger seldom does) and look at the big picture, “Your Body Is A Battleground” may also represent the conflict between good and evil that exists in all of us.
Her emphasis on feminist concerns renders any other interpretation irrelevant.
With the exhibition “Thinking of You,” the Art Institute of Chicago is presently presenting a thorough look at Kruger’s work. I’m referring to myself. I’m referring to you.” Kruger’s exhibition is “special” since it is “expansive,” according to Leticia Pardo, the Art Institute’s Creative Director.
But when it comes to work that has been done before, usually on the same topics — feminism and consumerism – the term “unique” doesn’t apply. Maybe it’s Kruger’s painfully odd exhibition title that makes me think of Jenny Holzer, a fellow text-artist who speaks clearer, harder, and without images about broader topics.
On the contrary,
Nancy G. Heller, an art historian, has a distinct perspective on Kruger’s work. Her text-art delivers “inflammatory comments about America’s social and political reality,” she said in her 1987 book Women Artists. That does not seem to be the case. “I Hate Myself,” “You Are Not Yourself,” and “Just Be Yourself” seem more like lyrics from the TV show “In Treatment” than songs.
That goes double for the title of her show, “Thinking About You.”
I’m referring to myself. I’m referring to you.” (By the way, how many people believe Paul Weston, the psychotherapist, should have remained in therapy?)
Kruger, unlike Holzer, seldom offers a bigger perspective, a global vision. Even when Holzer uses text-art to address feminism, she does it in a broad sense. Her “Lustmord” series (German for “sex murder”) is inspired by the Bosnian War, during which women were brutally raped and murdered.
Holzer makes “provocative remarks” that are “hard to ignore,” according to Heller.
In her book Women, Art, and Society, published in 1990, art historian Whitney Chadwick cites a number of issues raised by Holzer’s “provocative utterances,” including “aging, pain, death, rage, fear, violence, and politics.” Feminism exists as well, although it isn’t as prevalent as it once was.
The power of words
“I’m aghast, frightened, and disgusted,” Holzer told The Guardian in 2018, during Trump’s administration, indicating how her experiences become text-art: “Abuse of authority comes as no surprise.”
“It will be shown that nothing is safe, holy, or sane,” Holzer wrote in 1982 under the title “Inflammatory Essays,” which she taped to lampposts, walls, and construction sites. That doesn’t sound like anything written 40 years ago. She predicted the current situation as if she were a seer.
Meanwhile, we have “A Corpse Is Not A Customer,” “I Shop Therefore I Am,” and “Are We Having Fun Yet?” from Kruger.
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