Polly ApfelbaumMay 3 - July 27, 2003
The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) is pleased to present the first large museum survey of visual artist Polly Apfelbaum. Polly Apfelbaum creates what she calls "fallen paintings," hybrid works of rare beauty that exist in a contentious, ambivalent space between painting, sculpture, and installation. Often arranged on the floor, spreading around corners in indeterminate shapes, Apfelbaum's overall forms are comprised of intricate, nearly psychedelic layers of dyed fabric, as if myriad smaller paintings have accreted or grown from a central cluster of shapes and colors.
Installation Views. Photos by Aaron Igler.
Apfelbaum is known for her pallete of stunning, eye-popping colors and hues. These works transform the colors of mass culture -- of television, saturated magazine ads, bags of Wonder Bread -- into wild, oscillating spectra bordering on the organic. Dusk red blobs fan rows of yellow leaves; teardrop shapes of black nudge indigo forms resembling paramecium, single-cells, or algae blooms. One of the most original artists working today, Apfelbaum's painting pushes past its traditional disciplinary forms, off the wall, and into pop culture. Apfelbaum's work calls for audiences to think about the pleasure of aesthetic experience -- and to experience the pleasure of aesthetics.
This is a comprehensive survey of Apfelbaum's work and highlights recent paintings as well as a range of work from 1989 to the present, filling the main galleries on both levels of the ICA exhibition space. Apfelbaum has also designed custom wallpaper for the ICA installation. The exhibition, curated by ICA Director Claudia Gould and Senior Curator Ingrid Schaffner, is accompanied by a fully illustrated 80-page catalog. It includes an introduction by Gould, as well as an interview between her and the artist, and essays by art historian Irving Sandler and ArtForum Editor Tim Griffin. Following its opening at the ICA, the exhibition will travel to the Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (December 5th, 2003 - February 29th, 2004) and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri (June 4 - September 5, 2004).
Apfelbaum (b. 1955, Abington, Pennsylvania) is a graduate of Tyler School of Art and has had solo exhibitions at Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art NYKY, Helsinki, Finland; and Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. She currently lives and works in New York.
ICA acknowledges the generous funding support awarded by The Buddy Taub Foundation; the Peter Norton Family Foundation; Altria Group, Inc.; the Artists and Scholars Program of the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by the University of the Arts; The Ford Family Foundation; and Stephen B. Klein. ICA is also grateful for the generous support of the members of ICA's New York Leadership Circle: Christopher J. Carrera Foundation; Ashley & Jason Bernhard; Cecile & Christopher D'Amelio; Karen Finerman; Virginia & David Ford; Glenn R. Fuhrman; James N. Gray Foundation; Katherine Greenberg; Amy Segal & Phillipe Heilberg; K. Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc.; Janedesign, Inc.; Craig Beresin; Anurag Bhargava; Paula & Robert Hoy; Nicole & Michael Kubin; Eric S. Lane; Marc Lisker; Ladd McQuade; Amy & John Phelan; Pamela & Arthur Sanders; The Right Stuff Foundation; Daniel C. Scheffey; Joey & Christopher Schlank; Victoria Voytek & Robert Fogelson; & Candace Worth. Additional support has been provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Dietrich Foundation Inc., the William Penn Foundation, William G. Butler, Chris Mattsson, the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of ICA, and the University of Pennsylvania. (Information complete as of 4/2/03.)