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Polly Apfelbaum

The Potential of Women

September 7 – October 21, 2017

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2017)

The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
17.50h x 22.38w in (44.45h x 56.83w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
17.50h x 22.50w in (44.45h x 57.15w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
17.50h x 22.50w in (44.45h x 57.15w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
17.75h x 22.38w in (45.09h x 56.83w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
16.25h x 11.50w in (41.28h x 29.21w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
16.25h x 11.75w in (41.28h x 29.85w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
16.25h x 11.50w in (41.28h x 29.21w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
16h x 11.50w in (40.64h x 29.21w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
16.25h x 11.50w in (41.28h x 29.21w cm)
 
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
16.50h x 11.50w in (41.91h x 29.21w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
11.50h x 16w in (29.21h x 40.64w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
11.50h x 16.25w in (29.21h x 41.28w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
11.75h x 16.25w in (29.85h x 41.28w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper
11.50h x 16.25w in (29.21h x 41.28w cm)
The Potential of Women, 2017, Gouache on paper in four parts
The Potential of Women, 2017
Gouache on paper in four parts
22h x 29.63w in (each)
Nassia, 2016, White clay and glaze
Nassia, 2016
White clay and glaze
19h x 12w in (48.26h x 30.48w cm)
Lorenzo, 2014, Colored porcelain and glaze
Lorenzo, 2014
Colored porcelain and glaze
8.19h x 8.13w in (20.80h x 20.65w cm)
Colin, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Colin, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
9h x 20w in (22.86h x 50.80w cm)
Karen, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Karen, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
12h x 15w in (30.48h x 38.10w cm)
Vladamir, 2015, White clay and glaze
Vladamir, 2015
White clay and glaze
13.25h x 13.50w in (33.66h x 34.29w cm)
Mona, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Mona, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
13.13h x 19.50w in (33.35h x 49.53w cm)
Joanne, 2014, White clay and glaze
Joanne, 2014
White clay and glaze
7.50h x 13.50w in (19.05h x 34.29w cm)
Pae, 2015, Porcelain and glaze
Pae, 2015
Porcelain and glaze
10h x 11.50w in (25.40h x 29.21w cm)
Sid, 2015, Terracotta and glaze
Sid, 2015
Terracotta and glaze
10.50h x 13w in (26.67h x 33.02w cm)
Franz, 2016, White clay and glaze
Franz, 2016
White clay and glaze
10.75h x 11.25w in (27.31h x 28.58w cm)
Okki, 2016, White clay and glaze
Okki, 2016
White clay and glaze
10.13h x 12.50w in (25.73h x 31.75w cm)
Wills, 2014, Colored porcelain and glaze
Wills, 2014
Colored porcelain and glaze
11.75h x 11.75w in (29.85h x 29.85w cm)
Jenny, 2014, Colored porcelain and glaze
Jenny, 2014
Colored porcelain and glaze
8.88h x 8.50w in (22.56h x 21.59w cm)
Dona, 2014, White clay and glaze
Dona, 2014
White clay and glaze
7.44h x 8.44w in (18.90h x 21.44w cm)
Axl, 2015, Colored porcelain and glaze
Axl, 2015
Colored porcelain and glaze
8.75h x 8.75w in (22.23h x 22.23w cm)
Ilse, 2014, Colored porcelain and glaze
Ilse, 2014
Colored porcelain and glaze
8.88h x 8.38w in (22.56h x 21.29w cm)
Margutta, 2013, Terracotta and glaze
Margutta, 2013
Terracotta and glaze
15h x 12.81w in (38.10h x 32.54w cm)
Piotre, 2015, White clay and glaze
Piotre, 2015
White clay and glaze
13.63h x 14.50w in (34.62h x 36.83w cm)
Billy Bob, 2015, White clay and glaze
Billy Bob, 2015
White clay and glaze
13.25h x 14.50w in (33.66h x 36.83w cm)
Tina, 2014, Colored porcelain and glaze
Tina, 2014
Colored porcelain and glaze
8.50h x 5.31w in (21.59h x 13.49w cm)
Clara, 2015, Terracotta and glaze
Clara, 2015
Terracotta and glaze
12h x 17.25w in (30.48h x 43.82w cm)
Magnus, 2014, Porcelain and glaze
Magnus, 2014
Porcelain and glaze
13.25h x 14.25w in (33.66h x 36.20w cm)
Dierdre, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Dierdre, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
16h x 12.50w in (40.64h x 31.75w cm)
Terence, 2014, Terracotta and glaze
Terence, 2014
Terracotta and glaze
12.50h x 14.25w in (31.75h x 36.20w cm)
Julian, 2015, Porcelain and glaze
Julian, 2015
Porcelain and glaze
8h x 14.50w in (20.32h x 36.83w cm)
Vera, 2014, White clay and glaze
Vera, 2014
White clay and glaze
10.50h x 9.25w in (26.67h x 23.50w cm)
Rocky, 2016, White clay and glaze
Rocky, 2016
White clay and glaze
13.75h x 9.50w in (34.93h x 24.13w cm)
Luiz, 2016, Colored porcelain and glaze
Luiz, 2016
Colored porcelain and glaze
11.13h x 8.25w in (28.27h x 20.96w cm)
Adair, 2015, Terracotta, white clay, and glaze
Adair, 2015
Terracotta, white clay, and glaze
9.75h x 10.50w in (24.77h x 26.67w cm)
Barney, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Barney, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
12.25h x 15.50w in (31.12h x 39.37w cm)
Juana, 2016, Porcelain and glaze
Juana, 2016
Porcelain and glaze
11.50h x 19.31w in (29.21h x 49.05w cm)
Lyla, 2015, Colored porcelain and glaze
Lyla, 2015
Colored porcelain and glaze
7.50h x 8.25w in (19.05h x 20.96w cm)
Darla, 2015, Terracotta and glaze
Darla, 2015
Terracotta and glaze
9.50h x 10.75w in (24.13h x 27.31w cm)
Stella, 2014, Colored porcelain and glaze
Stella, 2014
Colored porcelain and glaze
8h x 8.25w in (20.32h x 20.96w cm)
Janet, 2016, White clay and glaze
Janet, 2016
White clay and glaze
14.63h x 6.75w in (37.16h x 17.15w cm)
Pepe, 2016, White clay and glaze
Pepe, 2016
White clay and glaze
8.50h x 10.13w in (21.59h x 25.73w cm)
Begonia, 2015, White clay and glaze
Begonia, 2015
White clay and glaze
9.25h x 10w in (23.50h x 25.40w cm)
Sol, 2016, White clay and glaze
Sol, 2016
White clay and glaze
14.25h x 19.75w in (36.20h x 50.17w cm)
Marti, 2016, Colored porcelain and glaze
Marti, 2016
Colored porcelain and glaze
14.50h x 15.50w in (36.83h x 39.37w cm)
Isa, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Isa, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
11h x 17.75w in (27.94h x 45.09w cm)
Ellie, 2014, Terracotta and glaze
Ellie, 2014
Terracotta and glaze
12.50h x 11.75w in (31.75h x 29.85w cm)
Ester, 2016, Porcelain and glaze
Ester, 2016
Porcelain and glaze
13.63h x 18.88w in (34.62h x 47.96w cm)
Lucy, 2014, Terracotta and glaze
Lucy, 2014
Terracotta and glaze
12.63h x 11.25w in (32.08h x 28.58w cm)
Kate, 2014, Terracotta and glaze
Kate, 2014
Terracotta and glaze
11.50h x 11.25w in (29.21h x 28.58w cm)
Sarah, 2014, Colored porcelain and glaze
Sarah, 2014
Colored porcelain and glaze
10h x 9.50w in (25.40h x 24.13w cm)
Dahlia, 2016, White clay and glaze
Dahlia, 2016
White clay and glaze
9.50h x 23.50w in (24.13h x 59.69w cm)
Tatiana, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Tatiana, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
11h x 23w in (27.94h x 58.42w cm)
Myra, 2016, White clay and glaze
Myra, 2016
White clay and glaze
9h x 22.25w in (22.86h x 56.52w cm)
Stan, 2014, Terracotta and glaze
Stan, 2014
Terracotta and glaze
11.75h x 16.50w in (29.85h x 41.91w cm)
Kiefer, 2017, Terracotta and glaze
Kiefer, 2017
Terracotta and glaze
11.75h x 13.86w in (29.85h x 35.20w cm)
Dan, 2015, Terracotta and glaze
Dan, 2015
Terracotta and glaze
13.50h x 13.25w in (34.29h x 33.66w cm)
Angela, 2014, Terracotta and glaze
Angela, 2014
Terracotta and glaze
15.75h x 14.25w in (40.01h x 36.20w cm)
Claudio, 2016, White clay and glaze
Claudio, 2016
White clay and glaze
14.25h x 19.25w in (36.20h x 48.90w cm)
Briony, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Briony, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
15h x 16.50w in (38.10h x 41.91w cm)
Nicholetta, 2013, Terracotta and glaze
Nicholetta, 2013
Terracotta and glaze
12.25h x 13.38w in (31.12h x 33.99w cm)
Monica, 2013, Porcelain and glaze
Monica, 2013
Porcelain and glaze
11h x 11.38w in (27.94h x 28.91w cm)
Elizabeth, 2014, Porcelain and glaze
Elizabeth, 2014
Porcelain and glaze
10.50h x 12w in (26.67h x 30.48w cm)
Hannah, 2014, Colored porcelain and glaze
Hannah, 2014
Colored porcelain and glaze
8.50h x 12w in (21.59h x 30.48w cm)
Laurel, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Laurel, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
12.75h x 19w in (32.39h x 48.26w cm)
Emanule, 2016, Colored porcelain and glaze
Emanule, 2016
Colored porcelain and glaze
9.50h x 10.25w in (24.13h x 26.04w cm)
Boris, 2014, Colored porcelain and glaze
Boris, 2014
Colored porcelain and glaze
8h x 7.75w in (20.32h x 19.69w cm)
Bonnie, 2014, Colored porcelain and glaze
Bonnie, 2014
Colored porcelain and glaze
7h x 8.50w in (17.78h x 21.59w cm)
Toby, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Toby, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
8.25h x 11w in (20.96h x 27.94w cm)
Zaha, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Zaha, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
11.25h x 22w in (28.58h x 55.88w cm)
Kellindo, 2013, Terracotta and glaze
Kellindo, 2013
Terracotta and glaze
12.38h x 11.50w in (31.45h x 29.21w cm)
Ivor, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Ivor, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
13.75h x 15.50w in (34.93h x 39.37w cm)
Ivan, 2015, Terracotta and glaze
Ivan, 2015
Terracotta and glaze
14.75h x 14.25w in (37.47h x 36.20w cm)
Morris, 2015, Colored porcelain and glaze
Morris, 2015
Colored porcelain and glaze
9.75h x 9.13w in (24.77h x 23.19w cm)
Red, 2016, White clay and glaze
Red, 2016
White clay and glaze
13.13h x 19.75w in (33.35h x 50.17w cm)
Olafur, 2015, White clay
Olafur, 2015
White clay
16h x 18.25w in (40.64h x 46.36w cm)
Riva, 2016, Terracotta and glaze
Riva, 2016
Terracotta and glaze
9.50h x 17w in (24.13h x 43.18w cm)

Press Release

Alexander Gray Associates presented Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women, the artist’s first exhibition at the Gallery. The exhibition featured all new work, including gouache drawings, hand-woven rugs, and wall-mounted ceramics. The key visual motif comes from the 1963 book, The Potential of Woman, published in conjunction with a symposium of the same name.

Apfelbaum draws inspiration from graphic designer Rudolph deHarak’s cover design for The Potential of Woman, which features a flattened, stylized view of a female figure’s head. Her appropriation of this image, chosen as an icon, is consistent with her ongoing interest in applied design and popular culture. Apfelbaum was also fascinated by the book’s provocative and ultimately patronizing message. The book and its related symposium imagined a future in which women might be useful contributors; Apfelbaum instead reflects the desire for a broader appreciation and empowerment of legions of capable women in the present. In the exhibition’s title, Apfelbaum changes the word ‘woman’ to ‘women’ to reinforce an inclusive communal narrative around feminism.

In the second floor Gallery, the artist created an immersive environment, in which she occupied and transformed the entire space with four rugs, painted walls, and dozens of wall-mounted ceramics. Critic Christopher Knight has described her similarly expansive 2016 installation at Otis College of Art as a “secular chapel of abstract art,” an association that Apfelbaum invites. The rugs, the central element of the installation, deploy deHarek’s graphic design in orange, pink, tan, and black; they were woven in Oaxaca by Zapotec artisans indigenous to the region using their traditional weaving and dying methods. The walls are painted in large horizontal stripes of orange, pink, and white, matching the tones used in the original book cover. Intimately-scaled abstract ceramic portraits are hung around the walls to mimic what the artist describes as a participatory audience for the work, much like “a Greek Chorus that gives voice to the performance.” Apfelbaum has depicted another crowd of women in polychromatic gouache drawings installed on the ground floor of the Gallery. She renders the same face appropriated from the cover of The Potential of Woman in a variety of sizes, and color spectrums, creating a kaleidoscopic effect. Her use of vibrant dense pigment here is a tribute to Josef Albers’ landmark book on color theory, Interaction of Color, also printed in 1963, emblematic of her fusion of pop-cultural and art historic references.

With the recurrent aesthetic of accumulation and diverse color saturations, Apfelbaum expands the visuals of the political landscapes surrounding the 2017 election and its resulting activism. Collectively, her densely populated drawings, row of ceramics, pay homage to the recent resurgent prominence of women’s marches and enforce the power of community to engage in collective action and activism.

Polly Apfelbaum has exhibited widely since the 1980s, including recent one-person exhibitions at: Chapelle Saint-Jean, Le Sourn, France (2017); Cohen Gallery at Brown University, Providence, RI (2016); Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Bepart, Waregem, Belgium (2015); Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA (2014); lumber room, Portland, OR (2014). A major mid-career survey of her work opened in 2003 at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, PA and traveled to Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, and Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH, both in 2004. She has upcoming solo-exhibitions at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England, and 21er Haus, Vienna. Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including: Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists, Katonah Art Museum, NY (2017); An Irruption of the Rainbow, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Routes of Influence, Perez Art Museum, Miami, FL (2016); Wall to Wall, MOCA Cleveland, Cleveland, OH (2016); Defining Sculpture, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2016); Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler, Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA (2015); Three Graces, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY (2015); Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today, Museum of Art and Design, New York (2015); Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (2012); Lines, Grids, Stains, and Words (2008), Comic Abstraction (2007), and Sense and Sensibility: Women and Minimalism in the 90’s (1994) all at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; As Painting: Division and Displacement, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, (2002); Operativo, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, (2001).

Apfelbaum’s work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern of Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of Art of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; and The Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY. She was the recipient of a Pollack-Krasner Foundation grant in 1987, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993, an Artist's Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 1995, an Anonymous Was a Women Award in 1998, a Richard Diebenkorn Fellowship in 1999, a Joan Mitchell Fellowship in 1999, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2002, and most recently the Rome Prize in 2012.