CORVALLIS, Ore. — An art exhibition featuring work by conceptual artists Barbara Kruger and Analia Saban will be shown at Oregon State University’s Little Gallery Oct. 3-Dec. 2, with an official opening event from 3:30-5 p.m. Oct. 12.

The “Currency of Language” exhibition will include a series by Kruger and two pieces by Saban. It explores themes of language, consumerism, mass media and varying methods of communication.

Since she first formed the Little Gallery nine years ago, director Helen Wilhelm has wanted to show work by Kruger, whose art is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

“I’ve always loved her work; she’s been well-known since the late 1970s or early ‘80s,” Wilhelm said. “She takes immensely popular images that one can recognize from billboards or magazines, and then adds slogans on top of these found images. This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to have an artist of her stature here at the university.”

The Kruger piece that will be on display at OSU is “Untitled (We Will No Longer Be Seen and Not Heard),” a series of nine panels that explores linguistic ambiguity and social resistance.

Both Saban pieces coming to Corvallis are works on paper: a series of garment labels, larger than their original size to demonstrate their unexpected non-uniformity; and a series of plastic bag prints featuring different variations on the slogan, “Thank you, have a nice day,” as found on disposable plastic shopping bags. Both use everyday objects to illustrate themes of labor, global trade and workers’ rights.

Wilhelm felt the two artists’ styles and messages fit together well and also connected back to the curriculum students are learning in OSU’s Department of World Languages and Cultures.

“The works of both artists reference how language and codes of advertising infiltrate daily life through repetition and mass media,” she said. “The joint exhibition gives us insights into modern and popular culture and tell us a bit about who we are and who we are not.”

The Little Gallery is housed in Kidder Hall as part of the College of Liberal Arts’ School of Language, Culture and Society at OSU.

Currency of Language will be open to the public from Oct. 3-Dec. 2 during normal gallery hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The official opening event for the exhibit will be at 3:30-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

College of Liberal Arts

About the OSU College of Liberal Arts: The College of Liberal Arts encompasses seven distinct schools, as well as several interdisciplinary initiatives, that focus on humanities, social sciences, and fine and performing arts. Curriculum developed by the college’s nationally and internationally-renowned faculty prepares students to approach the complex problems of the world ethically and thoughtfully, contributing to a student's academic foundation and helping to build real-world skills for a 21st century career and a purposeful life.

Story By: 

Molly Rosbach, [email protected]


Helen Wilhelm, [email protected]


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