Polly Apfelbaum is a New York-based artist, known for elaborate installations featuring small pieces of hand-dyed, cut fabrics arranged on the floor in complex, abstract designs. She calls these works her “fallen paintings.” One such example, recently shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is her 2002 “Black Flag,” consisting of a myriad of beautifully dyed velvet shapes.
Apfelbaum fuses traditions of painting, craft, and installation. Textiles remain central to her work, but ceramics and paintings on paper have also become prominent features, which can be seen in her recent installation “The Potential of Women” 2017. This work was inspired by an image of an abstracted female head created in 1963 for the cover of “The Potential of Woman.” In this exhibition there were four large rugs, emblazoned with this abstracted female head, which were woven by Zapotec artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Apfelbaum has received a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, a Richard Diebenkorn Fellowship, an Artist’s Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.
During her four-decade career – starting in the 1980s – she has exhibited widely in one-person exhibitions and in numerous group shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MOCA Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art, MOCA Cleveland, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Art Institute, Vienna’s Belvedere 21, England’s Ikon, and countless others.