ELLE Book Club

Name to know: Molly Crabapple

The American artist and writer draws truths you can't ignore

It feels like cutting off my twenties, putting them in a box and sending them off to sea,” says Molly Crabapple, 32, about her memoir Drawing Blood (HarperCollins). “To write about your past is to make yourself separate from it. I feel adrift after that.” The personal has always tangled with the political in Crabapple’s work, whether as a nude model and burlesque dancer, illustrator or journalist. And in each role, she is drawn to the margins, the outer limits. For 2012’s Week In Hell, an endurance experiment streamed live, she locked herself in a room for five days till she’d covered the walls with art. When you strain at the edge of possibility, she says, “You see what you are.” Crabapple, whose art is part of the permanent collection at MoMA, has reported on the Syrian civil war for The New York Times and The Guardian. She was in India in early 2016, and from the things that engaged her here (Ambedkar’s writings, Amar Kanwar’s art), it’s clear that for this multifaceted artist, there’s no escaping the political. 
Mollycrabapple.com

Flip through the gallery for more of her work