- artist barbara kruger's work is heavily type based and expresses a strong point of view, as does the wrapped hyundai ioniq 5 shown here.
- the car is part of an exhibition at the los angeles county museum of art that is part of an ongoing museum sponsorship by hyundai.
- after running through july 17, the kruger exhibition will later travel to the art institute of chicago and the museum of modern art in new york city.
barbara kruger is one of the most influential living artists, having developed an intentionally didactic and cuttingly acute linguistic, graphic, and visual style that has been endlessly copied and commodified. (shepard fairey's obama hope posters and skate/streetwear brand supreme's logos would not exist without her.) her type-based work has a strong cultural critique, founded in feminism, anti-racism, anti-capitalism, and anti-homophobia (among other things), and remains resonant to this day.
kruger is currently the subject of a compelling survey at the los angeles county museum of art (lacma), barbara kruger: thinking of you. i mean me. i mean you, which will travel to the art institute of chicago and the new york museum of modern art in the coming years.
don’t worry, there's a car angle.
hyundai is a major corporate sponsor of this show (and the museum itself). for the event, kruger created a new work, untitled (car), wrapping a hyundai ioniq 5 electric hatchback in text, all in her signature style.
as it turns out, this isn’t out of character. "since the late 1990s, kruger has wrapped city and school buses in new york, los angeles, and cologne, germany, with vinyl text works that address celebrity culture, art education, and power structures," said rebecca morse, the co-curator of the exhibition and curator of the wallis annenberg photography department at lacma. "this car wrap refers directly to the lacma exhibition with the use of kruger's black and green title graphic thinking of you. i mean me. i mean you."
the car will appear, as it did on the day we visited the exhibit, in front of a vintage airstream food truck in the museum's courtyard, as well as in the museum's parking garage. it will also drive throughout la during the run of the exhibition. the core goal of this is to publicize the exhibit, and to simultaneously provide some visibility for the ioniq 5, which we don't mind at all since it happens to be one of our favorite new evs. (watch for it on the streets, angelenos.)
kruger often surprises people with the locus of her work, so this mobility is aligned with her challenging and delightfully insidious practice. "from billboards to bus shelters, construction fences, and vehicles, kruger often addresses the public in outdoor spaces," morse said. "by adopting sites that are used predominantly for advertising, kruger challenges the viewer's expectations and creates a powerful art experience."
unlike her contemporary jenny holzer—whose work also uses aphoristic-style type as cultural critique—kruger has not made a bmw art car. but can such a thing be far behind? we can only hope. though as barbara would say, whose hopes? whose fears? whose values? whose justice?
the kruger exhibition opened march 20 at lacma and runs through july 17, 2022.