Thursday, April 29, 2010

Barbara Kruger Q&A Out Today

Barbara Kruger has taken over the AGO facade for the Contact Festival. My interview with her about the work--and her longer 30 year legacy of incisive artmaking--is out today in the National Post. Here's an excerpt:

Q: How else has the power of images changed?

A: Well, I've been interested for a long time in the way pictures tell us who we are and who we want to be -- and who we can never be, too. But time online has changed people in incredible ways. I really see a difference in the attention spans that people have, particularly young people, who I teach at a university. Just look who goes to movies - a lot of people go to "event movies," but other kinds of narrative don't hold them. I think sustained narrative is in a real crisis. Sometimes I ask my students, "Do you ever think you'd be interested in going to a movie that's not about you?" They'd rather go on Twitter and talk about what they're doing. I don't say that judgmentally. It's just a way cultures have changed.

Q: Speaking of cultures, do you find working in Canada different than the States?

A: There's a phrase I've used before: "Belief plus doubt equals sanity." One without the other is sort of strange. For a while, doubt seemed like it was grounds for arrest in America. I'm sure Canadian politics has some of the same baggage. But maybe I'm wrong. I feel like Canada and the States share a particular situation, a geographical adjacency that spills over into various cultural and linguistic forms -- and now medical forms! And of course, where would American comedy, which is so important to me, be without Canada?

Image of Kruger's classic I Shop Therefore I Am 1987 from the National Post, Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery

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