Barbara Kruger was the only child in a lower middle-class family. Kruger entered Syracuse University in 1964, but returned home one year later after the passing of her father. She entered the fine arts program at Parsons School of Design the following year where she studied photography with Diane Arbus and graphic design with Marvin Israel, who encouraged her to assemble a professional design portfolio when her enthusiasm for her studies faltered, which lead to employment with Condé Nast Publications in New York City in the mid-1960s. Within a year of starting at Madamoiselle, she was promoted to chief designer. She began doing freelance design for the covers of political texts around the same time. These experiences were significant influences on her confrontational work as a mature artist, which combines media-derived images with strident text. Her work evolved radically throughout the 1970s as it reflected the feminist movement in the United States, begining with large decorative woven hangings and moving towards photography and eventually photomontage. Much of her work, through the commercial mass-production it so often criticizes, has become icons of the post-modern, with phrases like “I shop therefore I am” and “Your body is a battleground.” Kruger currently lives and works in New York City.
National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)