Combining images with provocative text, Kruger uses direct address—along with humor, vigilance, and empathy—to expose and undermine the power dynamics of identity, desire, and consumerism. As shrinking attention spans collide with the voyeurism and narcissism that define contemporary life, her immersive installations and widely circulated pictures and words invite us to reconsider how we relate to one another.
YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU. encompasses the full breadth of her career—from early and rarely seen “pasteups” (works that use an analog technique for physically arranging a page’s contents with manual “cut and paste”) to digital productions of the last two decades. The presentation includes works on vinyl, site-specific installations, animations, and multichannel video installations.
The exhibition is not, however, a retrospective. Challenging notions of career building and a strict chronology, Kruger has reenvisioned the retrospective itself by rethinking, remaking, and replaying her work over the decades for the constantly moving present.
The exhibition at the Art Institute—collaboratively designed with the artist—interrogates the specific cultural context of our museum, as it transcends the traditional exhibition space and extends into the museum’s public spaces and the city beyond. Kruger’s work not only fills the entirety of the museum’s largest exhibition space, the 18,000 square-foot Regenstein Hall, but also occupies Griffin Court—an 8,000-square-foot atrium running the length of the Modern Wing—with new site-specific work. Kruger’s text and images address both the architecture and relational spaces throughout the museum—from the windows in the historic Michigan Avenue building and the Modern Wing to various public spaces, some of which will also feature an ambient soundscape. Kruger will additionally engage the surrounding cityscape, creating work for billboards, the Chicago Transit Authority, and Art on theMART, among other locations and organizations.
Download this map of the museum to see the various locations Kruger’s work can be found.
Visual descriptions of works included in the exhibition can be found below. Press the play button to hear the audio, or click on the page icon for the transcription.
Please also note that some artworks in the exhibition feature flashing lights and spaces that may be experienced as high sensory.
Kruger’s work can be found at both of the museum’s entrances as well as other outside surfaces.
Other Museum Spaces
From the ticketing areas to elevators, Kruger’s work can be found in many spaces across the museum campus.
This exhibition is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Lead individual support for THINKING OF
YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU. is generously provided by Liz and Eric Lefkofsky.
Lead foundation support is generously provided by Caryn and King Harris, The Harris Family Foundation.
Major funding is contributed by the Society for Contemporary Art through the SCA Activation Fund, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Margot Levin Schiff and the Harold Schiff Foundation, Shawn M. Donnelley and Christopher M. Kelly, Constance and David Coolidge, and the Auxiliary Board Exhibition Fund.
Additional support is provided by Helyn Goldenberg and Michael Alper and the Susan and Lewis Manilow Fund.
Members of the Luminary Trust provide annual leadership support for the museum’s operations, including exhibition development, conservation and collection care, and educational programming. The Luminary Trust includes an anonymous donor, Neil Bluhm and the Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation, Karen Gray-Krehbiel and John Krehbiel, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris, Josef and Margot Lakonishok, Robert M. and Diane v.S. Levy, Ann and Samuel M. Mencoff, Sylvia Neil and Dan Fischel, Anne and Chris Reyes, Cari and Michael J. Sacks, and the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation.