Crises and Revolutions: Molly Crabapple’s Complete “Shell Game”

March 25, 2013 | Marina Galperina

New York artist Molly Crabapple has been busy. Following the great success of her Kickstarter and her intensive research, she’s spent days and days and days in her studio, immaculately painting corrupt fatcats, worker mice, and feminine mascots of 2011’s biggest revolutions and crises — an android-like Anonymous, a towering Occupy dangling plastic police bracelets and modern feminist icon Laurie Penny surrounded by protesting foxes and police hound dogs.

Now that her nine paintings are complete, Molly prepares for The Shell Game, the show.

“Each big painting takes about a month, 

plus I do a lot of preliminary work 

and research. 

I travelled to Greece, Spain and the UK. For the Tunisian painting, I interviewed journalists and bloggers from Nawaat.” Since she’s started the series, she’s been arrested

, saw a general strike in Spain and watched cops chase and shoot teenagers rubber bullets.

There are repeating cute-but-troubling anthropomorphisms throughout the series, but the leads of her canvases aren’t consistently heroic: See Ms. Business of Illness’s smug smirk vs Hivemind’s triumphant battle with the fatcats. They are all, however, female. “I’m a woman,” the artist explains. “When I want to draw a human, I draw a woman. When I want to draw a man, I draw a man.”

Molly will host a public reception on Sunday, April 14th from 7-10pm at the Smart Clothes Gallery. “I am so burnt and tired that thinking about the reaction to the show is a little beyond me right now,” she says. “

I put everything into making it.”

“The Shell Game,” Molly Crabapple, Apr 14 – Apr 23, Smart Clothes Gallery, New York