This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

14Nov/17

BARBARA KRUGER: UNTITLED (KNOW, BELIEVE, FORGET; SCHOOL; THE DROP; SKATE)

Barbara Kruger takes back her iconic graphic style in  pop-up skate shop as part of Performa 17 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Barbara Kruger takes back her iconic graphic style in pop-up skate shop as part of Performa 17 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Multiple locations
Daily through November 19, free
“Untitled (The Drop),” Thursday, November 16, $5, 4:00 - 8:00 pm
17.performa-arts.org

Newark-born artist Barbara Kruger has been making socially conscious, provocative signs, slogans, and billboards primarily using white Futura Bold Oblique letters on a red background since the 1980s (in addition to black-and-white statements over photographic images). Many call it her trademark style, but watch that language: “Trademark” is a weighty term. In 1994, the Supreme skateboard and clothing brand opened up shop, creating a logo co-opted from Kruger’s work, which explores aspects of women’s rights and American consumerism; the Pictures Generation artist is also a cultural critic and graphic designer for magazines. In 2013, Supreme sued Leah McSweeney of Married to the Mob for her “Supreme Bitch” T-shirts, which also utilized Kruger’s style with Supreme’s brand name. Kruger, who had not previously commented on Supreme’s use of her iconic design, sent an email to the Complex pop-culture site in response to the lawsuit, writing, “What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers. I make my work about this kind of sadly foolish farce. I’m waiting for all of them to sue me for copyright infringement.” Kruger, who is based in New York and Los Angeles, has taken the issue even further with her Performa 17 commissions, in which she reclaims her art, incorporating Supreme’s business practices in a series of ultracool installations. On the High Line at Seventeenth St., her billboard proclaims, “Know Nothing. Believe Anything. Forget Everything.” Kruger has added numerous signs to Coleman Skatepark on Monroe St. under the Manhattan Bridge, including “Love It. Share It. Praise It. Please It.,” “Bad Is Good. Happy Is Sad. Ignorance Is Bliss,” and “Plenty Should Be Enough.” Be on the lookout for a school bus traveling across the city wrapped in black-and-white phrases with the word War. And in her ultimate coup, she has built “The Drop,” a pop-up shop at the Performa Hub at Broadway and Canal where people wait on line to purchase skate-related items made by Volcom featuring white type on red backgrounds, including a white T-shirt saying, “Whose Hopes? Whose Fears? Whose Values? Whose Justice?,” a black hat, black sweatshirt, and black T-shirt proclaiming, “Want It. Buy It. Forget It.,” and skate decks declaring, “Don’t Be a Jerk.” Entry is $5 in advance, and the items for sale range from $15 for patches to $65 for a skate deck and $300 for a complete skateboard. It’s a fabulous way to turn everything inside out and upside down while raising money for Performa.

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