press release

A History of the Brand 31 May - 13 September 2009 5 - 8 p.m. Saturday 30 May: Opening and panel discussion titled "The artist has to live like everybody else".

Revealed/Concealed 26 June - 13 September 2009 5 - 8 p.m. Thursday 25 June: Opening; guided tour by Christina Barton and Wystan Curnow; conversation between Billy Apple® and David Elliott.

Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, is proud to announce the major solo exhibition of Billy Apple®, together with a new commission in public space and a monographic publication by Witte de With Publishers.

The artist Billy Apple® was born in 1962, when the New Zealand born Barrie Bates changed his name and created a new artistic persona, whilst still a student at London's Royal College of Art. Initially part of the generation of British pop artists, Billy Apple® moved to New York in 1964, where the same year he exhibited with Andy Warhol in the seminal American Supermarket exhibition and rapidly established himself as a key figure in the conceptual art scene. In 1969 he opened Apple, one of the first alternative spaces in New York. By the 80s, Billy Apple® was working in both New Zealand and New York, and in 1990 he returned to Auckland, where he continues to work and exhibit internationally.

His exhibition in Witte de With's galleries will comprise two parts, opening four weeks apart.

The first instalment of the exhibition, titled Billy Apple®: A History of the Brand, opens on Saturday 30 May. Since changing his name, Billy Apple® has developed a body of work that records his gradual transformation from an individual artist into a brand. The culmination of this process occurred in 2008, when he succeeded in registering his name as a trademark.

Occupying the 3rd floor of Witte de With, this exhibition will present works from Billy Apple®'s inception through to today, tracing a practice that has remained ahead of its time in analysing and incorporating the marketing of art. Drawing upon the language of advertising and finance, the works presented will include the timely series Paid, (1987) whose tag line reads: "The artist has to live like everybody else".

The second part of the exhibition, titled Billy Apple®: Revealed/Concealed, will open on Thursday 25 June. For this project, Billy Apple® will transform Witte de With's 2nd floor, as part of a new commission that evokes his series of architectural interventions and his ongoing institutional critique. For example, in 1980, for his exhibition Censure at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, Billy Apple® painted red the elements of the gallery that did not meet his exacting standards. Having corrected the imperfections of Witte de With's spaces, Billy Apple® will install a selection of related works.

The two-part exhibition extends into public space with a series of billboard commissions, created in collaboration with Sculpture International Rotterdam. These will see Billy Apple®'s designs installed on a large scale, inserted into the visual fabric of the city. Together, this will be Billy Apple®'s biggest survey to date and is just the 2nd time he has exhibited in The Netherlands, following the group show Kunstlichtkunst, at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, in 1966.

Curated by: Nicolaus Schafhausen and Zoë Gray

Publication: The exhibitions will be accompanied by a Source Book, titled Billy Apple, published by Witte de With Publishers. This English-language monograph will include texts by Christina Barton (Senior Lecturer in Art History, and Director of Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington) and Bénédicte Ramade (art critic, L'Oeil, Les Inrocktupibles, Paris), Michelle Menzies (American Field Scholar, PhD candidate at the University of Chicago), and William Wood (Assistant Professor, Art History Faculty, University of British Columbia, Vancouver). Released: September 2009. ISBN: 978-90-73362-89-5

Billy Apple®
A History of the Brand
31 May - 13 September 2009
26 June - 13 September 2009

Kuratoren: Nicolaus Schafhausen, Zoe Gray