Placement and Installation: The Art Portfolio of Polly Apfelbaum

An installation with a spiral shape on a gallery floorBlossom, (installation view at D'Amelio Terras, NY)

Artist Polly Apfelbaum creates works that tend to defy categorization. Working in a range of media, the artist explores the physicality and materiality of art – both her own, and in general – often pushing the envelope of placement and installation.

An installation view of some tabletop abstract artworkColor Revolts


I enjoy the way Apfelbaum’s website portfolio is organized not by series, but by the physical placement of her artworks – for example, artworks installed on tables are separated from artworks installed on the floor. Some of these floor and table installations, particularly the ones that utilize raised, soft-looking shapes, are reminiscent of works by Pip and Pop. But where the latter artist focuses on a playful, fantasy landscape aesthetic, Apfelbaum is equally adept with darker, more subtle modes of shifting focus.


The artist also explores other sensory aspects of the gallery and of traditional art materials. In The Sound of Ceramics, a collaboration with Wang Lu, the artist arrange a ring of small ceramic shards hanging from the ceiling, allowing guests to move the ceramics and listen to the percussive sounds created by two shards making contact.

An artwork made with hanging pieces of ceramicThe Sound of Ceramics, (collaboration with Wang Lu) (installation view at Cohen Gallery, Brown University, RI)

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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