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Polly Apfelbaum

Born 1955, Pennsylvania, USA

Apfelbaum has lived and worked in New York since 1978; she gradually achieved prominence in the 1980s and since her one-person exhibition in 1986 became increasingly featured at international venues. The power and expressive meanings contained in colour are the focus of her work and she developed a hybrid practice which combined painting, sculpture and gallery installations. Her ‘fallen paintings’ of the 1990s consisted of floor arrangements of hand-cut and hand-dyed fabric shapes, one of which was included in the exhibition ‘A Kind of Bliss’ at Warwick University’s Mead Gallery in 2004. While much of her work has a playful and witty character, it also reflects serious themes such as popular culture and feminism.

In 2012 Apfelbaum was awarded the Rome Prize when she spent a year in Italy and was inspired by the history and craft traditions of Italian art, leading to new variations of her former practice with references to geometric patterning of mosaic tiles, for instance, in a series of dramatic, colour saturated monoprints the titles of which used the names of notable women in the history of ancient Rome.

Her work is included in numerous major collections including MOMA and the Witney Museum of American Art in New York and the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris.


Byzantine Time Machine 6