Polly Apfelbaum at Arcadia Exhibitions

Arcadia Exhibitions (Glenside, PA) presents Polly Apfelbaum: For the Love of Una Hale on view from February 3 through April 17, 2022. Handcrafted during an extended residency at Arcadia University, Apfelbaum’s new ceramic works will be contextualized by site-specific wallpapers and an exhibition Out of the Heart: The Life and Art of David Ellinger concurrently on view at University Commons of works by the noted Pennsylvania folk artist and antiques dealer David Ellinger (1913-2003). 

Polly Apfelbaum is a multidisciplinary artist who engages art history, the applied arts, and popular culture through large-scale installations that assemble fabrics or rugs, ceramics, drawings, paintings, sculptures, found objects, and immersive color. Exploring contemporary ideas surrounding craft and gender, For the Love of Una Hale examines the early influence of Pennsylvania German craft traditions on the artist’s hybrid sensibility.  

“The goal is to interpret the personal as political,” Apfelbaum said, citing her long history of working with materials associated with craft, the everyday, installation, and space of the gallery. “I’m starting to look back at my history, where the inspiration came from, and how my personal experiences relate to the complex life and work of the painter David Ellinger.”  

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public programs and a publication featuring essays by Tessa Bachi Haas, Wayne Koestenbaum, Lisa Minardi, David Pagel, Jenelle Porter, Jennifer Sorkin, and Richard Torchia. Together with Out of the Heart: The Life and Art of David Ellinger, an exhibition curated by Lisa Minardi, executive director of Historic Trappe, For the Love of Una Hale explores Pennsylvania German art and celebrates Ellinger’s multifaceted creative output as an antiques dealer, a gardener, a prolific artist, and drag show performer (Una Hale). 

About the Artist

Polly Apfelbaum (b. 1955) received her BFA from Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. She has lived and worked in New York City since 1978 and since her first one-person-show in the city in 1986 has shown consistently in the United States and internationally.

Her most recent solo exhibition, “Haystack Hands”, was presented in conjunction with a residency at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Deer Isle, Maine) in 2019. Other recent shows include “Waiting for the UFOs (a space set between a landscape and a bunch of flowers)” at Ikon (Birmingham, UK) and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, Missouri), “Happiness Runs” at Belvedere 21 (Vienna), “Dubuffet’s Feet, My Hands” at Frith Street Gallery (London), as well as “The Potential of Women” at Alexander Gray Associates (New York). 

A major mid-career survey of her work debuted at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia in the summer of 2003 and traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio and Kansas City. Another exhibition in Philadelphia, “Polly Apfelbaum + Dan Cole: For the Love of Gene Davis” was presented in 2014 by Temple Contemporary as part of Tyler School of Art’s Distinguished Alumni Mentoring Program. 

Apfelbaum received a Creative Capital Award in 2018 and in 2012/13 was a Rome Prize recipient at the American Academy in Rome. She also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Joan Mitchell Grant, and an Anonymous Was A Woman Grant, among other awards. Her work is part of many significant public collections, including those of The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Dallas Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

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