Billy Apple - Apple sees red

Opening: Friday, 26th April 2013, 6 pm
Exhibition Dates: Friday, 26th April – Saturday, 25th May 2013

Eternity is very long, especially towards the end. (Woody Allen)

Hamish Morrison Galerie is delighted to present their first solo exhibition by Billy Apple entitled Apple sees red.

Several artists have changed their names, particularly in the 60’s, (Georg Baselitz, Imi Knoebel, Blinky Palermo) but in 1962 when Barrie Bates (*1935, Auckland) changed his name to Billy Apple it was a change that was to have far more ramifications to an artist’s practice than anyone before or after, dissolving the line between art and life.

Initially involved with the beginnings of British Pop as one of the ’Young Contemporaries’ in London, Billy Apple moved to New York in 1964, where he continued to produce pop-related work. That same year he took part in the seminal exhibition entitled American Supermarket at Bianchini Gallery together with Warhol, Johns, Lichtenstein and Wesselmann among others. By 1969 he had developed a more conceptual and process-orientated practice and opened one of the first non-profit spaces in New York, Apple,  which he ran till 1973.

In the 80s, his text-based Transaction works drew attention to art system relations between artist, dealer, and collector. His unfailing interest in science and technology has seen him collaborate with eminent scientists and researchers from neon and laser works in the 60’s up to leading cell-technology of the present day.

The title for this exhibition Apple sees red is taken from his first show in London. In a concentrated presentation of just 3 works. the brand Billy Apple is again reinforced. On one side of the gallery the original Apple sees red poster hangs. The image for this work was taken by photographer Robert Freeman who rose to fame a year later for his portraits of the Beatles. Hanging on the opposite wall is a 2012 Billy logo acrylic on linen work. Between these works sits a ceramic red apple. A timespan of 50 years.  As art historian Christina Barton writes, Billy Apple has “spent much of his career creating and refining his ‘brand’ as an artistic manoeuvre geared to test the boundaries of art, examine the mechanisms that construct the artist as subject, and expose the value systems in which he and his works are mired”. This culminated in Billy Apple becoming a registered trademark in 2007
Two other projects, perhaps looking to the future involved Billy Apple working with apple growers in 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, a collaboration spear-headed by Dr Craig Hilton and The School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland. The Billy Apple® Cell Line was moved in 2012 to the American Type Culture Collection, the world's premier biological culture repository.

One thing we can be sure about, Billy Apple is going to be around for a very long time.

Since 1990 Billy Apple has been based in Auckland where he continues to work and exhibit internationally.

Recent exhibitions include: Starkwhite Gallery, Auckland, 2012, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, 2009 and The Mayor Gallery, London, 2010, Pop Art in Western Europe, Museum het Valkhof, Nijmegen; Gold, Belvedere Palace Museum, Vienna.

Public collections include the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Britain, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; The Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia; Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, Pasadena; Boise Art Museum, Idaho; and the Corning Museum of Glass, New York, Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand, Wellington; Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki, Auckland and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth.