Here Is Every. Four Decades of Contemporary Art

Ida Applebroog. Chronic Hollow. 1989

Oil on canvas, six parts, Overall 7' 10 1/2" x 9' 8 1/8" (240 x 295 cm). Acquired with matching funds from The Millstream Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts, and purchase. © 2018 Ida Applebroog

Artist, Ida Applebroog: My name is Ida Applebroog. The work we're talking about is a Chronic Hollow and that comes from a series called Nostrums.

For the most part, I paint what I know and it's sort of the exact moment in which I live over the years. I'm not out there to sort of explain what I'm doing. You connect the dots and everybody will connect the dots differently.

With all of my paintings and the structure, I use them as predellas. They're almost like altarpieces. When you go into a church and you see different images and they're in different layers ... So I just have connecting images but they're not actual connections in a way that one reads a story from the beginning to the end.

With all of these images, you're actually walking into the middle of a story that you have to sort of put together by yourself. At the top of the painting you see the image of the woman sitting there with a gun. Why is she sitting there with a gun? Is she protecting herself? Is she going to shoot somebody?

Narrator: Below the woman with the gun Applebroog has painted an image of a chair.

Ida Applebroog: I took a designer chair for two and surrounded it by sandbags. It relates to the execution of the Rosenbergs. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were convicted of spying and they were sentenced to the electric chair for treason. I've never really mentioned the idea that the chair was the electric chair for the two Rosenbergs. This is the first time ... and I've decided rather than have it being interpreted by other people, I'd rather tell what ... this particular image was about, and what I was thinking of when I was doing it.

At the very bottom, the panel with the two children holding the American flag. And you can take that from your own memory, the viewer's memory as to what an American flag means to them.

And at the far right, the falling bodies.They might be acrobats.They might be falling off, you know, it might be what happened at 9/11.

Well, I have been asked very many times, why is your work always so involved with violence? And [laughs] my answer is always ... "It's not me that's involved with violence. It's the world that's involved with ... violence." And in a way, it's, you know, it's ominous.

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