Contemporary Art

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (2011)

As part of the Hirshhorn Museum’s programming, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation supported the long-term installation of the Barbara Kruger: Belief + Doubt exhibit.

At a moment when ideological certitude and purity seemed especially valued, Kruger said she’s “interested in introducing doubt.” Large areas of the installation were devoted to open-ended questions (“WHO IS BEYOND THE LAW? WHO IS FREE TO CHOOSE? WHO SPEAKS? WHO IS SILENT?”), while the section that occupied the bookstore exploreed themes of desire and consumption. At once addressing the individual, the museum, and, symbolically, the country, Kruger’s penetrating examination of the public sphere transformed one of the Hirshhorn’s key public spaces.