Apple core
Apple core
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Billy Apple

1935 - Apple core 1964
  • xerox print on silk
Description

Billy Apple was born Barrie Bates in Auckland, New Zealand in 1935. He left New Zealand in 1959 to study graphic design at the Royal College of Art in London. After graduating in 1962, he changed his name to Billy Apple. In 1964 he moved to New York where he continued to produce pop-related paintings and objects, and later, neon sculptures.

By 1969 Apple had shifted to a more conceptual and process-oriented practice. To create a venue for his work he established Apple, a not-for-profit space at 161 West 23rd Street which he operated between October 1969 and May 1973. A major survey of Apple's work, which brought together his pop and conceptual works from 1960 to 1974, was staged at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 1974 and he exhibited regularly at various venues in New York's alternative art scene.

Apple remained in New York until 1990, continuing to exhibit his work in various venues, including Leo Castelli Gallery. He also made two extended tours to New Zealand in 1975 and 1979-80, producing a string of site-specific installations in dealer and public galleries throughout the country. Since the early 1980s Apple has complemented his installation practice with text-based works that draw attention to the art system and highlight the network of relations that operate between artist, dealer, and collector. A survey of these, As Good as Gold: Billy Apple Art Transactions 1981-1991, was organised and toured by Wellington City Art Gallery in 1991. He became a registered trademark in 2007 to formalise his art brand status and continues to develop projects that address this, for example working with apple growers over the production and branding of a new apple cultivar and a collaborative art/science project, The Immortalisation of Billy Apple®, in which cells from his blood have been virally transformed to create a cell line that will live outside the body for use in studies like cancer research.

Source: Starkwhite, Auckland.

© Billy Apple®

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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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