Yet behind the pranksterism, as Brooklyn Museum curator Eugenie Tsai has pointed out, is "a masked but very sincere utopianism" and a "perfect combination of Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys." Fundamentally, these are artists who embrace rather than shy away from big subjects, a trait that distinguishes them from many in their age cohort.

So how is it that the Bruces manage to continue to take on complex, knotty phenomena like arts education, hedge fund billionaires, and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (which they mashup with a canonical Duchamp sculpture to produce a silkscreen they call The Bachelors of Avignon)?

The Bruces’ 2004 restaging of Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa on the East River.
Courtesy BHQF
The Bruces’ 2004 restaging of Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa on the East River.
the Bruces take on history in Thank You New York (2009).
Courtesy BHQF
the Bruces take on history in Thank You New York (2009).

"This is what working collaboratively allows us to do," they answer almost in unison. "By discussing all these things together and making up fake narratives and alternate histories, we've figured out a way to create enough freedom for ourselves so far to do whatever we want. It's never personal. Instead, it's like a super-competitive conceptualized drawing party, with editing. And we constantly push ourselves to make the stakes bigger and bigger and bigger."

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