Barbara Kruger: Bus

About the Exhibition

Barbara Kruger’s wrapped Bus carries riders from Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan to eastern Queens throughout the month of November. Addressing the influence of celebrity on popular culture, Kruger’s signature texts and graphics, reproduced in a large-scale vinyl format, cover the bus’s forty–foot-long top and sides, and the full rear panel.

Continuing her appropriation of mass media as part of the artistic process, Kruger (b.1945, Newark, NJ) adopts this relatively new form of advertising, the bus wrap, to bring her own texts as well as various quotes to hundreds and thousands of “viewers” on the street. These enlarged statements include Kruger’s own “I shop therefore I am,” Courtney Love’s “I want to be the girl with the most cake/ I fake it so real I think I am beyond fake,” “All you need in life is ignorance and confidence and then success is sure” by Mark Twain, and H.G. Wells’s “Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.”

Employees looking out of their mid-town windows down at the top of the bus will read “Don’t look down at anyone” and drivers who follow the bus will read “Don’t look at me,” “Don’t threaten me with love,” “Don’t put words in my mouth,” “Don’t get too close,” and ultimately, “Don’t be a jerk.”

This is the fourth project that Kruger has realized with the Public Art Fund in a rich history that began with her 1983 participation in Messages to the Public on the Spectacolor Board in Times Square and includes the We Don’t Need Another Hero billboards in 1988 and the Untitled bus shelter poster series in 1991. Barbara Kruger’s Bus is sponsored by Beck’s through the prestigious New York Arts Program. This project, timed to coincide with two other installations of Kruger’s work at Mary Boone Gallery and at the Canal Street Lumber Yard, creates a unique opportunity to view her work in both a traditional gallery setting as well as in the public arena of New York City.

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