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Vast, Intimate and Empty

Polly Apfelbaum is Waiting for the UFO's at the IKON

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by Hamilton High, for outsideleft.com
originally published: September, 2018
Polly's earlier floor-bound installations incorporated hundreds of pieces of velvet, hand-dyed in bold hues and often arranged in sprawling configurations that appeared to be organically inspired or like abstract paintings that melted off the wall...
by Hamilton High, for outsideleft.com
originally published: September, 2018
Polly's earlier floor-bound installations incorporated hundreds of pieces of velvet, hand-dyed in bold hues and often arranged in sprawling configurations that appeared to be organically inspired or like abstract paintings that melted off the wall...

Polly Apfelbaum
Waiting for the UFO's (a space set between a landscape and a bunch of flowers)
IKON Gallery, Birmingham
19 September — 18 November 2018


Birmingham's IKON is a beautiful building to begin with, with exhibitions over several floors, I always like to pop over there when I am in the city. The IKON's shows are invariably excellently entertaining and Waiting For The UFO's, New York City's Polly Apfelbaum's collection of ceramics, textiles and drawings promises to be one of the great ones. There's certainly a lot of excitement around and about, about her work.

Polly's work draws on and gathers in the vast and empty spaces of United States of America and shoehorns that into the intimate environs of the IKON! Phew. Oh! Wow! It's a close encounter of the Polly Apelbaum kind. Ho-Ho-Ho. Like Santa would say, it's her gift to you.


The opening on September 19th, features a short musical set from acclaimed UK singer/songwriter, Graham Parker, from whose song Waiting From The UFO's, (from his superlative-ennervating late 70s album Squeezing Out Sparks), the show takes half of its name. The remainder comes from surrealist René Magritte’s definition of a garden as “a space set between a landscape and a bunch of flowers”. The idea of appropriation is explored through Apfelbaum’s use of allusion and quotation, blurring the lines drawn between popular culture, or craft, and high art.

I remember the Magritte retrospective at LACMA. Good one, right? I got there so late on the final day they were literally pulling up the fluffy cloud carpet behind me and it was so massive, so exhausting. That's another thing I like about IKON. Unharried. Unhurried. I'm so happy you're here.


Essential Info
Polly Apfelbaum website
Polly's London Gallery website
IKON Gallery

Polly Apfelbaum
Waiting for the UFO's (a space set between a landscape and a bunch of flowers)
IKON Gallery, Birmingham
19 September — 18 November 2018
IKON hours, Tues - Sun, 11-5

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Hamilton High

Hamilton High was born on Doheny Ave in the gutter, is a poet, writer and observer of popular culture. Likes fashion and cares less for style. He's on the move, he's an alter ego and we hardly ever hear from him.

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