Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Robert Hobbs


California contemporary artist Barbara Kruger created the colossal, three-dimensional work "Picture This" as part of the winning outdoor park design "Imperfect Utopia" (1986-1997) held by the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. Situated in the landscape outside the museum’s original building designed by Edward Durell Stone, 80-foot-tall letters inscribe Kruger’s phrase "Picture This." The letters are embedded with quotations, historical markers, cultural figures, as well as elements pertaining to North Carolina’s history and environment. This thesis proposes that "Picture This" functions as Kruger’s conceptual critique of museums; more specifically, it critiques their traditional utopian goals and simulacral stature. This thesis will demonstrate that Kruger’s phrase "Picture This" functions as a dialogue with the museum and the state. By drawing parallels between Kruger’s work and French philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s theory of simulation, this study will elucidate alternative readings of "Picture This" as well as foreground its impact on Kruger’s oeuvre.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

January 2014