Autobiography in 5 Chapters

June 23, 2011


By Portia Nelson


Chapter I


I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost . . . I am helpless
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.


Chapter II


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.


Chapter III


I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in . . . it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.


Chapter IV


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.


Chapter V


I walk down another street.



Barbara Kruger

June 23, 2011

Kruger’s earliest artworks date to 1969. Large woven wall hangings of yarn, beads, sequins, feathers, and ribbons, they exemplify the feminist recuperation of craft during this period. Despite her inclusion in the Whitney Biennial in 1973 and solo exhibitions at Artists Space and Fischbach Gallery, both in New York, the following two years, she was dissatisfied with her output and its detachment from her growing social and political concerns.

She took up photography in 1977, producing a series of black-and-white details of architectural exteriors paired with her own textual ruminations on the lives of those living inside. Published as an artist’s book, Picture/Readings (1979) foreshadows the aesthetic vocabulary Kruger developed in her mature work.

By 1979 Barbara Kruger stopped taking photographs and began to employ found images in her art, mostly from mid-century American print-media sources, with words collaged directly over them. Her 1980 untitled piece commonly known as “Perfect” portrays the torso of a woman, hands clasped in prayer, evoking the Virgin Mary, the embodiment of submissive femininity; the word “perfect” is emblazoned along the lower edge of the image.

These early collages in which Kruger deployed techniques she had perfected as a graphic designer, inaugurated the artist’s ongoing political, social, and especially feminist provocations and commentaries on religion, sex, racial and gender stereotypes, consumerism, corporate greed, and power.

During the early 1980s Barbara Kruger perfected a signature agitprop style, using cropped, large-scale, black-and-white photographic images juxtaposed with raucous, pithy, and often ironic aphorisms, printed in Futura Bold typeface against black, white, or deep red text bars.

The inclusion of personal pronouns in works like Untitled (Your Gaze Hits the Side of My Face) (1981) and Untitled (I Shop Therefore I Am) (1987) implicates viewers by confounding any clear notion of who is speaking. These rigorously composed mature works function successfully on any scale. Their wide distribution—under the artist’s supervision—in the form of umbrellas, tote bags, postcards, mugs, T-shirts, posters, and so on, confuses the boundaries between art and commerce and calls attention to the role of the advertising in public debate.

In recent years Barbara Kruger has extended her aesthetic project, creating public installations of her work in galleries, museums, municipal buildings, train stations, and parks, as well as on buses and billboards around the world. Walls, floors, and ceilings are covered with images and texts, which engulf and even assault the viewer.

Since the late 1990s, Kruger has incorporated sculpture into her ongoing critique of modern American culture. Justice (1997), in white-painted fiberglass, depicts J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn—two right-wing public figures who hid their homosexuality—in partial drag, kissing one another. In this kitsch send-up of commemorative statuary, Kruger highlights the conspiracy of silence that enabled these two men to accrue social and political power.


May 25, 2011

Just read Wall and Peace, Banksy, (2005) and thought I’d share his thoughts with you:

Graffiti is not the lowest form of art. …. it’s the most honest art form available. There is no elitism or hype, it exhibits on some of the best walls a town has to offer, and nobody is put off by the price of admission.

The people who run our cities don’t understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit. But if you just value money then your opinion is worthless.

The people who truly deface our neighbourhoods are the companies that scrawl their giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff. They expect to be able to shout their message in your face from every available surface but you’re never allowed to answer back.

Always current, never boring!

Give it some thought.

Journey to design

May 24, 2011

“When someone is seeking … it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything … because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal”


My thoughts exactly, just being open to ideas as they flow allows a greater degree of flexibility and creativity.

After Wordsworth

May 17, 2011

I wandered lonely aluminium

That floats on high o’er green and brown

When all at once I saw a can

Just laid upon the ground;

In the car park, beside the trees,

Fluted and bouncing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky  way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margins of the day;

Ten thousand saw I at a glance.

Tossing their way with hollow dance.

The trees beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;

Environmentalists, not gay

In such disturbing company;

I gazed and gazed but little thought

Concerns the show to me had brought.

For oft when on my couch I lie

In vacant or exhausted mood,

They flash upon my inward eye

When I am thinking of some food;

With that my heart displeasure fills

The greenery that cans have killed.

(after Wordsworth)

Learning to paint

May 17, 2011

A first effort at acrylic abstract: based loosely on the colours of dumped cans amongst the trash beside the recycling tanks.

What can I say: I think it represents the colours and the outlines of the Pepsi max cans is evident but am left with an outstanding feeling of distress. I would dearly love to be able to paint with a certain level of skill, if only to show that I have learned some techniques. Is Do I want what I have not been taught? Yes … to all the above.


May 17, 2011

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Check it out here: