Polly Apfelbaum wants people to interact with her art. She has described herself as an in-between artist who paints, sculpts, prints and uses any medium that she feels will encourage people to participate in her exhibits. Born in Abington, Pennsylvania, in 1955, she studied painting at the Tyler School of Art in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and at Purchase College, State University of New York. She has exhibited, in the US and internationally, since the 1980s.
Her works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and many other major venues. She has been influenced by Bauhaus Modernism, Minimal Art, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art and combines fine art with arts and crafts. Polly Apfelbaum lives and works in New York.
Waiting for the UFOs
The actual title of Apfelbaum’s current exhibit is Polly Apfelbaum: Waiting for the UFOs (a space set between landscape and a bunch of flowers). Waiting for the UFOs is the title of a 1979 Graham Parker song and a space set between landscape and a bunch of flowers is the way Surrealist artist Rene Magritte defined a garden. The exhibit ran in Birmingham, England before opening last week at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, kicking off the museum’s twenty-fifth anniversary.
Apfelbaum created the Kemper Museum exhibit to custom fit into the museum space. Giant, colorful rugs, which she designed and had woven by indigenous women in Oaxaca, Mexico, cover the floor of the galleries. Visitors are asked to remove their shoes and walk through the exhibit in their socks or in soft shoe coverings, supplied by the museum.
She created walls throughout the space by hanging hundreds of clay glazed beads from the ceiling, each on a single string. On the actual walls of the museum are Sun Targets, a collection of over 130 ceramic targets individually named after planets or constellations. Polly Apfelbaum: Waiting for the UFOs (a space set between landscape and a bunch of flowers) will run through April 28, 2019.
Polly Apfelbaum Fine Art Prints at VFA
Polly Apfelbaum studied printmaking as an art student, but focused much of her early career on painting and creating compositions with fabrics. In 2002, she returned to printmaking, in collaboration with master printmaker Jean-Paul Russell at Durham Press in Pennsylvania.
Her colorful woodcuts and screenprints reflect her use of vibrant colors and minimalist abstract design. Polly Apfelbaum’s Flags of Revolt and Defiance series, available at VFA, is an example of her mastery of printmaking.
Please contact us if you would like more information about Yippies, Sons of Liberty or any of the other screenprints by Polly Apfelbaum available at VFA.
Laura Spencer.An Artist’s Colorful Exhibit Makes The Kemper Kansas City’s Place For ‘Waiting For The UFOs’. KCUR. All Things Considered. January 25, 2019.
Interview from ‘Chromatic Scale: Prints by Polly Apfelbaum’ Catalogue
‘Small Worlds: An Interview with Polly Apfelbaum and Amy Cutler’ in ‘Taking Aim: The Business of Being an Artist Today’ Edited by Marysol Nieves, Fordham University Press; 1 edition (June 13, 2011) pages 33-43