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Barbara Kruger

Untitled (It’s a small world but not if you have to clean it)

1990

Barbara Kruger’s works feature juxtapositions of images and texts that address cultural constructions of power, identity, and sexuality. Since 1980, the artist’s work has developed a highly recognizable oeuvre of black, white, and red photo-text montages. Her large-scale photographic silkscreen Untitled (It’s a small world but not if you have to clean it) features an image of a woman peering through a magnifying glass. Her empowered gaze, which seems to be directed right at the viewer, elicits questions about who cleans up after whom that extend from more personal domestic and professional realms to the broader context of social, political, and economic issues.

Barbara Kruger (b. 1945, Newark, New Jersey; lives and works in Los Angeles and New York)
Untitled (It’s a small world but not if you have to clean it), 1990
Photographic silkscreen on vinyl
143 x 103 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchased with funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and Douglas S. Cramer

Direct address has motored my work from the very beginning. I like it because it cuts through the grease.... I’m interested in how identities are constructed, how stereotypes are formed, how narratives sort of congeal and become history. —Barbara Kruger