In what seems like fitting news for this warm spring day in New York, Chelsea’s Alexander Gray Associates now represents the artist Polly Apfelbaum, whose previous representative in the city, Clifton Benevento, shuttered last year. “It’s been a dream of mine for many years,” Gray told me by phone today.
For more than 30 years, Apfelbaum has made her name with a panoply of inventive works involving textiles, dye, and ceramics. Her works are luxuriously colored—joyful, even—and are often composed of many pieces spread across the floor, as in a sprawling, masterful work now on view at the Perez Art Museum Miami—where, as it happens, she will give a talk this Saturday. Don’t miss it!
Gray, who has a solo show of new work planned with Apfelbaum in September, said, “Her work is so multifaceted, and while it is certainly digestible and pleasurable in terms of painting and beauty”—as her work was sometimes addressed in the 1990s—“I think, even then, when the work was discussed in those terms, for me the missing piece was the social and political content that was embedded in the abstraction.”
Apfelbaum has been on a roll lately. She has a show on tap at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., in March, and last year had shows at the Luton Town Centre in England, the Otis College of Arts and Design in Los Angeles, and Senior & Shopmaker in New York. Her work is in numerous public collections, including those of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, both of which have her work on view, as well as the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Gray noted that his new working relationship with Apfelbaum also marks a special development in the growth of his gallery, which specializes in under-recognized artists whose work engages issues of politics, feminism, and queer theory. “This puts our roster at 50 percent women artists,” he said, “and that number will be changing. Stay tuned.”