In 1962, Barrie Bates changed his name to Billy Apple, a decision that marked a lifelong pursuit of collapsing art into life. Born in New Zealand in 1935, he moved to the UK in 1959 to study at the Royal College of Art, London. As a student, he became closely involved in the rise of pop art, producing work alongside his friend and art school companion David Hockney. Over the coming decades Apple turned himself into a brand (he is currently working on a line of Billy Apple cider), produced works of art that directly address his financial requirements, and presented his own bodily movements as a form of self-expression.
Billy Apple, The Artist Has to Live Like Everybody Else, 1985 / 2018. UV impregnated ink on canvas, 100 x 161.8 x 3.5 cm (39 3/8 x 63 3/4 in). Photo courtesy The Mayor Gallery, London.
After leaving the Royal College of Art, Apple moved to New York, living temporarily in the loft of the sculptor Eva Hesse. In 1964, he participated in the seminal exhibition The American Supermarket – a theatrical affair in which a supermarket was installed inside Bianchini Gallery on the Upper East Side. Apple exhibited posters and prints advertising red and green apples, as well as painted bronze sculptures of the eponymous fruit, alongside Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans, and Jasper Johns’s tins of beer.
Billy Apple, Bartered, 1984 / 2018. UV impregnated ink on canvas, available in sizes A0, A1, A2, A3. Photo courtesy The Mayor Gallery, London.
In 1974, a survey of work produced by Apple between 1964 and 1970 was staged at the Serpentine Gallery, London. The exhibition was censored on the grounds of obscenity after objections were raised over the decision to exhibit shit, semen and blood-stained tissues on the gallery walls.
Billy Apple, Promissory Notes: I.O.U. (red), 1984-2018. UV impregnated ink on canvas, available in sizes A0, A1, A2, A3. Photo courtesy The Mayor Gallery, London.
In the early 80s, Apple began the series Art Transactions, for which he traded and bartered prints in exchange for items and services he required – whether train tickets, cars or healthcare. (Apple is planning to trade a work to pay towards an operation on his knee.)
In doing so, Apple makes visible the economic needs of artists, strategising art as a tool for getting by, while also producing a diary of his activities and movements.
The Artist Has to Live Like Everybody Else 1961–2018
Mayor Gallery, London
12 September – 2 November 2018
Interview by ROSANNA MCLAUGHLIN
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY
Face to Face - The Daros Collections
'Face to Face' presents the two facets, or faces, of the Daros Collections, finding similarities between works by artists from the USA and Europe and works by Latin American artists. Some of the parallels suggested by the exhibition make direct associations between one work and another. On a broader scale, when both collections are gathered together, links between them surface, providing a unique perspective on the major international art trends over a significant period of time.
Eduardo Paolozzi: The Jet Age Compendium
It seems to be the close season for Paolozziana at the moment, notwithstanding the presence in Tate Modern of the Warhol-Koons brand of Pop Art. Paolozzi, of course, was genuinely credible as the founder/pioneer of British Pop Art, as distinguished from its American variant.
Robert Rauschenberg: Combines
It was only a matter of time before the work of Robert Rauschenberg would again receive a star billing in Paris, and there could be no better venue than the Centre Pompidou. The reason is that the work literally benefits from the implied temporariness of the 'rooms' at the Centre.
Brice Marden: A Retrospective of Paintings and Drawings
The work of American painter Brice Marden is currently showing in a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. This is timely, and the 56 paintings and over 50 drawings should bring the work of this outstanding painter permanently to the fore.
The Lichtenstein retrospective at the Hayward Gallery establishes an interesting timescale in terms of the appreciation and significance of Lichtenstein's work and the development of a critical apparatus to understand it.