Ida Applebroog

Ida Applebroog, Independence Plaza, 1980, ink and Rhoplex on vellum. Installation view, Printed Matter, New York.

EQUATING COMICS with “high art” is not as odd as it may sound. Both deal with the abstract transformation of information into another form without a fixed set of rules. And there has always, in fact, been a connection between the two—think of George Grosz, Andy Warhol, Laurie Anderson, and, best of all, Marcel Duchamp. Of course, Duchamp’s iconic Fountain, 1917, was signed “R. Mutt”—a name derived from the popular comic strip Mutt and Jeff. The urinal, an unexpectedly beautiful art object, provoked the question: If it’s funny, can it be art?

For me, making this kind of art is crucial. As with comics, my work is a microcosm of the world we live in. I raise issues of politics and gender in a seemingly nonthreatening way, subverting traditional subject positions. For instance, I use generic faces, without linear narrative—there is no beginning or end. A viewer enters

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