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Polly Apfelbaum

Institute of Contemporary Art University of Pennsylvania

May 3 – July 27, 2003

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Blossom, 2000 Synthetic velvet, fabric dye

Blossom, 2000
Synthetic velvet, fabric dye
Approximately 18 ft (5.5 meters) in diameter

Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The Dwarves with Snow White, 1992/2003

The Dwarves with Snow White, 1992/2003
Muslin Sacks, shredded paper
90 x 27 x 24 inches (228.6 x 68.6 x 61 cm)
 

Courtesy of the artist and D'Amelio Terras, New York.

Ice, detail, 1998

Ice, detail, 1998
Synthetic Velvet, fabric dye
Approximately 36 x 18 ft (11 x 5.5 meters)

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Reckless, 1998 Synthetic velvet, fabric dye

Reckless, 1998
Synthetic velvet, fabric dye
Approximately 36 x 18 ft (11 x 5.5 meters)

Courtesy of the artist and D'Amelio Terras, New York.

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Split, 1998 Synthetic velvet, fabric dye

Split, 1998
Synthetic velvet, fabric dye
Dimensions variable
Approximately 40 x 25 ft (12.2 x 7.6 meters)

Courtesy of the artist and D'Amelio Terras, New York.

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Peggy Lee and the Dalmatians, detail, 1992

Peggy Lee and the Dalmatians, detail, 1992
Synthetic velvet, fabric dye 
Dimensions Variable
Approximately 12 x 12 ft (3.7 x 3.7 meters)
 

Collection of Leonard Rosenberg, Colombe Nicholas, Morgan Rosenberg, and  Ian Rosenberg. 

A Pocket Full of Posies, 1990

A Pocket Full of Posies, 1990
Steel
40 inches (101.6 cm) in diameter

Courtesy of the artist and D'Amelio Terras, New York.

Compulsory Figures, 1996

Compulsory Figures, 1996
Synthetic Velvet
Dimensions Variable
Approximately 26 x 36 ft (7.9 x 11 meters)

Courtesy of the artist and D'Amelio Terras, New York

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Polly Apfelbaum, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2003)

Press Release

Polly Apfelbaum
May 3 – July 27, 2003
Institute of Contemporary Art University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA


This was 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 fabic, as if myriad smaller paintings have accreted or grown from a central cluster of shapes and colors. Apfelbaum is known for her palate 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 blots fan rows of yellow leaves; teardrop shapes of black nudge indigo forms resembling paramecium, single-cells, or algae blooms. Apfelbaum’s are paintings of ideas, certainly, but the concepts that drive her practice are ones of the body and of hungry-looking, rather than dry, exercises of the intellect or morality. As 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.