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“There’s a Crisis in Funding and in Teaching”: Barbara Kruger on Her Pro-Education Public Art

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Since October, Barbara Kruger’s words have been on display throughout the city of Los Angeles. With billboards exclaiming “support public education or face catastrophe” and buses brandishing quotes like “belief + doubt = sanity,” how does it feel for the artist to see her words peppered across the city? “It’s very gratifying” Kruger told ARTINFO. “I get a lot of emails from people, friends and students when they drive by them, and they send me pictures.”

The public arts initiative Arts Matter, presented by the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education and the L.A. Unified School District and produced by For Your Art, invited Kruger to be the first artist in a year long series of collaborations.

For Kruger, the project’s civic-minded mission was especially appealing. The artist, who has been teaching at UCLA’s Department of Art for five years and attended public school in New Jersey explains, “I feel like there’s a crisis in funding and in teaching and learning. This past election cycle was so gratifying to me, that California would pass a law increasing taxes [on November 6, California passed proposition 30, raising taxes to help fund state schools]. What I hope for is that a better education encourages people to try and examine life. A population that doesn’t have any notion of place, history, and how events congeal to make them live the life that they live is in trouble.”

The billboard in this image is by the LA Fund, inspired by the work of Barbara Kruger.

— Yasmine Mohseni, ARTINFO Los Angeles

(Photos by Joshua White.)

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