Born in New York, Ida Applebroog explores themes of gender, politics, sexual identity, and violence in her art, which consists of paintings, sculpture, books, as well as film. She is a feminist boundary-breaker who deals with cliched concepts of female beauty, sexual pleasure, gender roles, power dynamics, and violence in ordinary life.
In 1960, as Ida Horowitz, she checked herself into a mental ward where drawing – in India ink, watercolor, and pastel – would become her salvation. In the hospital for six weeks she made over 100 fantastical images in which abstract forms collide, flow, and are engulfed by others.
While her maiden name was Applebaum, she later renamed herself ‘Ida Applebroog’ as she burst onto the New York art scene at age 45. She joined Heresies, the feminist art collective, which published a journal of art and politics.
She uses comic-like images of simplified human forms with bold outlines in her art. Her “Mona Lisa” 2009 and her “Modern Olympia Scrolls” 1997-2001, a riff on Manet’s “Olympia,” celebrate women’s freedom to revel in the pleasures of their bodies. Currently she is steeping herself in taxidermy for her series to be called “Angry Birds of America,” a twist on Audubon’s “Birds of America.”
She has had many solo exhibitions in the United States, France, and Germany. The winner of a MacArthur Achievement Award, her work resides in the Whitney Museum, Guggenheim, and Museum of Modern Art. She is the subject of a documentary, “An Arc of Light.”