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Alias:Ida H. Applebroog


Ida Applebroog (born November 11, 1929) is an American multi-media artist who is best-known for her paintings and sculptures that explore the themes of gender, sexual identity, violence and politics.[1] Applebroog has been the recipient of multiple honors including the MacArthur Fellowship "Genius Grant", the College Art Association Distinguished Art Award for Lifetime Achievement, an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, New School for Social Research/Parsons School of Design.[2] Applebroog currently resides in New York and is represented by Hauser & Wirth.

Ida Applebroog was born as Ida Appelbaum[4] on November 11, 1929 in the Bronx, New York into an ultra-Orthodox Jewish Family.[5] From 1948 to 1950, she attended NY State Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences.[6] At the Institute, she studied graphic design instead of fine art. Applebroog stated that she, "couldn't make art without also making money." While studying at NY State Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, she began to work at an advertising agency where she was the only woman. Applebroog later recounted, "In those days sexual harassment was a day-to-day event. I held out in the ad agency for six months, then resigned."[7]

After resigning from the advertising agency, Applebroog went on to work as a freelance illustrator for children's books and greeting cards. In 1950, she married Gideon Horowitz, her high school sweetheart.[8] She took a job in the art division of the New York Public Library. She also began to take night classes at City College of New York during this time. By 1960, Applebroog had four children and in order for her husband to complete his doctorate, Applebroog and her family had to move to Chicago. After moving to Chicago Applebroog took courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and made jewelry in her family's basement that her husband and children would sell at art fairs.[9]

In 1968 Applebroog and her family relocated again to Southern California where her husband accepted an academic position. While living in San Diego, California, Applebroog began sketching close-ups of her own naked body, specifically her crotch, while in the bathtub, a series of more than 150 works she would not exhibit until 2010.[10] In 1969 Applebroog was briefly hospitalized for depression, during which time she began making bathtub sketches.[11] She was released by 1970 and promptly began to continue making art in her studio in San Diego.[11] Once she returned from her hospitalization, she began to create sculptures of "biomorphic forms made from fabric" amongst much other art. At the age of forty-four she participated in one of her earliest group exhibitions, entitled Invisible/Visible in 1972 at Long Beach Museum of Art.[12]

The following year Applebroog went to the Feminist Artists Conference at California Institute of the Arts, where she spoke with many women artists and was highly influenced by their enthusiasm toward social activism in art. Applebroog moved back to New York City in 1974. It was there, after changing her name from "Ida Horowitz" to "Ida Applebroog" (based on her maiden name, Applebaum), where she began to develop her own signature artistic style with a series of cartoonlike figures that merged the comic-strip format with the advertising industry's use of story-boards to explain a concept.[13] Starting in 1977 she circulated a series of self-published books through the mail, and joined Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics.[14] In 1981 she showed Applebroog: Silent Stagings, her first exhibition at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NY, where she continued to show for over 20 years. Applebroog has stated that the subject of her work is "how power works--male over female, parents over children, governments over people, doctors over patients."[15]

In 2005 she was profiled in the PBS documentary Art 21: Art in the Twenty-first Century.[16] In 2010, Applebroog's works on paper, including her 1969 sketches, were exhibited in a solo show entitled Ida Applebroog: Monalisa at Hauser & Wirth in New York, and in 2011 at Hauser & Wirth in London.
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