(b. Auckland, New Zealand, 1935; lives and
works in Auckland, New Zealand)
COMMISSIONED BY Adam Art Gallery
Billy Apple, Less is Moore, Wellington, 28 March 2009. Commissioned by Adam Art Gallery for ONE DAY SCULPTURE.
Photos: John Morrison
(Click to enlarge)
Less is Moore
Saturday 28 March 2009, 00.00–23.59
Salamanca Lawn, Botanic Gardens, Wellington
> Click here for a map
> Click here for details of the billboard [PDF, 1.3MB]
> Details from the public programme event can be found here
> Click here for Ian Wedde's commissioned critical response
Wellington City is known for its commitment to public sculpture, especially through the efforts of the Wellington Sculpture Trust, a charitable organisation whose members are dedicated to enhancing the environs of the city with works of art, which began its work in 1982. Henry Moore’s Bronze Form (1985-6) is the second sculpture acquired for the city through the efforts of the Trust and the only substantial work by this major international figure to be sited in public space in New Zealand. Purchased for the unprecedented sum of ₤300,000 in 1987, with funds gifted by Fletcher Challenge through Wellington City Council’s Arts Bonus Scheme, it remains the jewel in the civic crown.
Billy Apple (born 1935, Auckland NZ) is a conceptual artist based in Auckland who is known for his rigorous investigation of the sites, systems and social relations that structure the art world. Over a career spanning 50 years and three locations (London, New York and New Zealand) he has produced objects, text pieces, photographs, installations and undertaken actions that test definitions of art, challenge the structuring suppositions of artistic identity, expose the workings of the art system and demonstrate art’s permeability to larger social, political and economic forces.
For ONE DAY SCULPTURE Billy Apple will engage with Henry Moore’s Bronze Form in a manner characteristic of his practice and its intentions. Treating this work as his subject he will draw attention to a set of issues specific to Moore’s work in its Wellington location. By taking Henry Moore as his subject Apple will consciously negotiate the changing history of sculptural practice and locate himself within that trajectory, raising vital questions about the role and fate of art in public space.
Apple’s project is timed to coincide with the exhibition Billy Apple New York 1969-1973 at the Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, which documents activities undertaken by the artist between 1969 and 1973 at or in the vicinity of Apple, the not-for-profit space he operated at 161 West 23rd Street in New York City, which serve as fascinating precedents for his ONE DAY SCULPTURE.
Commissioned by the Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington.
Billy Apple, Manhattan Street Glass Accumulation, October 3-25 1970,
161 West 23rd St, New York. Photo courtesy of Billy Apple
Billy Apple was born Barrie Bates in Auckland New Zealand in 1935. He left New Zealand in 1959 to study graphic design at the Royal College of Art in London. Here he played an active role as a member of the notorious 'pop' generation (David Hockney, Derek Boshier, Allen Jones, R.J. Kitaj and others). After graduating in 1962, he changed his name to Billy Apple. In 1964 he moved to New York where he developed a series of site-related performance and installation works and opened his own gallery (Apple), which operated as an alternative venue for performance-based and conceptual projects between 1969 and 1972. A major survey of his work, which brought together his pop and conceptual works from 1960 to 1974, was staged at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 1974. Apple remained in New York until the late 1980s, exhibiting his work in various venues, including Leo Castelli Gallery (in 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1984). He also made two extended tours to New Zealand in 1975 and 1979-80, producing a string of site-specific installations in dealer and public galleries throughout the country, which have an important place in a New Zealand history of installation art. Since the early 1980s Apple has complemented his installation practice with text based works that draw attention to the art system and highlight the network of relations that operate between artist, dealer, and collector. In the late 1980s Apple returned to live in New Zealand.
Apple is now based in Auckland, and exhibits regularly in both dealer and public galleries as well as in the network of artist-run spaces that operate in New Zealand and Australia. His works have been included in a variety of major international and national touring exhibitions including: Toi Toi Toi: Three Generations of New Zealand Artists (Kassel & Auckland, 1999); Global Conceptualisms: Points of Origin (New York, 1999); Shopping: A Century of Art and Consumer Culture (Frankfurt & Liverpool, 2002-3); The American Supermarket (Pittsburgh, 2002), and Art of the 60s from Tate Britain (Auckland 2006).