Ida Applebroog: Birds
— The Arts Club, London
Installation view: Ida Applebroog: Birds, The Arts Club, London. Image: Emily Poole.
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The Arts Club presents an exhibition of 92-year-old American artist Ida Applebroog, focusing on works from the artist’s recent Angry Birds of America series. A pioneer of the American and international feminist movement since the 1970s, the exhibition exemplifies Applebroog’s extraordinary use of animal portraits as a medium of political investigation and criticism.
Applebroog has been challenging multiple artistic mediums to deal with themes of politics, power, mass media and sexuality for more than six decades. In 2016 she developed an interest in ornithology, specifically the work of artist and ornithologist John James Audubon (1785 – 1851) which brought art and nature together. Applebroog began collecting taxidermy birds and related books, and through this inspiration, went on to produce her own drawings and models in plaster and paint.
The Arts Club’s selection offers a solid overview of the Angry Birds of America series, which Applebroog began making in 2016. Created in a year that also saw the beginning of Donald J. Trump’s US Presidency, a burst of nationalism and anti-immigration policies, and the rise of #MeToo movement, the works echo the wider social unrest of the moment. Depicting bird carcasses, Applebroog gestures to the connection between beauty and violence in both the natural and manmade worlds. At the same time, she immortalises these creatures through her artwork, bringing their lives back into view. In doing so, Applebroog forms a metaphor for contemporary political life in America and a powerful call to action.
The Arts Club exhibitions and permanent collection is curated by Wedel Art. The Arts Club and Wedel Art are grateful to the artist, her studio team, and Hauser & Wirth for their enthusiasm and for the great works that make up this show. The Arts Club’s exhibition coincides with the artist’s major solo show at Hauser & Wirth Somerset.