THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, @katy.hessel interviews is one of the world’s most influential artists: Barbara Kruger.

Hailed for her distinctive poster-style language, Kruger merges text and image to bring attention to urgent political concerns. Bold, loud and readily available, her tabloid-esque works confront everyday issues. And, evocative of advertising, have the ability to bring meaning to often meaningless signage.

Born in Newark, NJ, and educated at Syracuse then Parsons, where she was taught by the late great Diane Arbus, Kruger began as an art director for Condé Nast, where she shaped her visual language. As she has said, “I had the luxury of working with the best technology … I became attached to sans serif type, especially Futura and Helvetica, which I chose because they could really cut through the grease.”

Fast forward to the 1970s and 80s – a highly political moment in America: especially for the control over one’s body – and Kruger is culminating text/images that speak to Laura Mulvey’s landmark 1975 essay on the male gaze, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, and that protest anti abortion laws. Her work defined a new type of art that directly addressed power and control, championing the rights we should have over our bodies, life and world.

Today, she is still at the forefront with her work – immersive and on the wall – that feels familiar due to its evocation of the machine we know as capitalism, that both drives us and that we drive. For those lucky enough to be in London, Kruger is very excitingly having her first institutional show in London in over 20 years, at Serpentine Galleries: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You. Opening TODAY, until 17 March 2024. {listen}