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New! Molly Crabapple's Downtown Demimonde

Today we present our second edition with Molly Crabapple, as introduced by another magical human, 5+5 contributor Lauren Cerand.

Girl by Molly Crabapple
14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 24"x20" ($600) | 40"x30" ($2,400)

I remember the first time I ever saw Molly Crabapple, standing on the roof at a cultural salon that she was co-hosting, because I knew instantly that I wanted to be her friend. Like one of her own heroines, as seen in this edition, Girl, she seemed self-assured yet private, not demanding to be the center of things but nonetheless captivating in her own way: self-contained, and still not missing a thing with her trademark thickly lined eyes. It would take us another year or two before our orbits would bring us into each other’s lives, but even then, I realized that it’s Molly Crabapple’s world, and the rest of us live in it.

In the populous and dazzling landscape that Molly Crabapple creates, we can become or be revealed as anything: glittering demimondaines, fallen from grace or clasped to ascent; the face of a daunting new system, as in Alice and Bob and Eve; a coquette busily unzipping her face to reveal an emerging capitalist pig. These are just some of the many hundreds of human stories that Crabapple has borne witness to and recorded for the permanent record. In doing so, she illuminates to all of us the extraordinary hope—and tragedy—we can render.

There’s a timelessness about her work, in which no thing is left unstudied and no complexity spared from the page, an increasing rarity in today’s hyper-speed, comfort-obsessed world. Girl could be looking out at us from opening night at the Casino de Paris in 1890, at the height of the Belle Epoque, or she could be on Orchard Street in the early 2000s. In the here-and-now, our Girl might be spotted leaving another raucous and packed burlesque night at the Slipper Room, the very same place that we'll soon celebrate Crabapple's memoir Drawing Blood.

Says Joss Whedon about Drawing Blood, “Molly Crabapple’s extraordinary memoir reads like a great novel, full of exotic locations, fascinating characters, passion, politics, a measured amount of bodice ripping, and above all, art. Crabapple brings a unique perspective to the artist’s journey, for she has been both artist and model, performer and recorder – she has straddled the gaze, Galatea to her own Pygmalion, and her vibrant, voracious trail is one well worth following. Molly writes like she draws: the spare lines have a reporter’s keen accuracy, but can barely contain the boisterous, messy, soulful life splashing about within. Inspiring, intimate and just a bit intimidating, this book is a must.”

Drawing on the past, gazing at the future, Girl evokes all of the exquisite tension of this singular artist’s life and work. It is the 21st century now, and Molly Crabapple is the artist it requires. Lucky are we who can see that.

With art for everyone,
Lauren Cerand