Barbara Kruger
[Artist, b. 1945, Newark, New Jersey, lives in New York.]

 I want to speak, show, see, and hear outrageously astute questions and comments. I want to be on the sides of pleasure and laughter and to disrupt the dour certainties of pictures, property, and power. 
 I see my work as a series of attempts to ruin certain representations and to welcome a female spectator into the audience of men. If this work is considered “incorrect,” all the better, for my attempts aim to undermine that singular pontificating male voice-over which “correctly” instructs our pleasures and histories or lack of them. 
 Photography has saturated us as spectators from its inception amidst a mingling of laboratorial pursuits and magic acts to its current status as propagator of convention, cultural commodity, and global hobby. 
 I worked with someone else’s photos; I cropped them in whatever way I wanted and put words on top of them. I knew how to do it with my eyes closed. Why couldn’t that be my art? 
 ... the thing that’s happening today vis-á-vis computer imaging, vis-á-vis alteration, is that it no longer needs to be based on the real at all. I don’t want to get into jargon—let’s just say that photography to me no longer pertains to the rhetoric of realism; it pertains more perhaps to the rhetoric of the unreal rather than the real or of course the hyperreal. 
 I think that the exactitude of the photograph has a sort of compelling nature based in its power to duplicate life. But to me the real power of photography is based in death: the fact that somehow it can enliven that which is not there in a kind of stultifying frightened way, because it seems to me that part of one’s life is made up of a constant confrontation with one’s own death. 
 Images are made palpable, ironed flat by technology and, in turn, dictate the seemingly real through the representative. 
 I have frequently said, and I will repeat again, in the manner of any well-meaning seriality, that I’m interested in mixing the ingratiation of wishful thinking with the criticality of knowing better. 
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