press release

Polly Apfelbaum Red Desert, Red Mountain, Red Sea Magasin III Jaffa March 10–July 15, 2022

Magasin III Jaffa is pleased to announce Red Desert, Red Mountain, Red Sea, a solo exhibition by the internationally renowned artist Polly Apfelbaum.

Polly Apfelbaum’s immersive site-specific installation at Magasin III Jaffa is an overwhelming, sensual experience. Using painting, sculpture, and installation, Apfelbaum creates an imaginary environment based on landscapes, the Red Desert in Wyoming, or the peak of the Red Mountain in southern Colorado, and specific cultural references, such as Antonioni’s 1964 film, Red Desert, or a quote from Josef Albers. Apfelbaum invites the viewer not only to see, but to take an active role in a journey and an exciting exploration of boundaries, painting, abstraction, and color.

Red Desert, Red Mountain, Red Sea‘s starting point is Red Desert (1993), a velvet floor piece, included in Magasin III Museum of Contemporary Art’s collection since 1997. To this work Apfelbaum adds a new floor piece: Red Desert, Red Mountain, Red Sea (2021), a wall painting: Red Waves (2022), and two ceramic works: Sun Targets (2017) and Red Table with Red Sea Beads (2013-2020).

Apfelbaum’s floor works, which she refers to as “fallen paintings”(1) are key elements in her work. Drawn to the use of this ancient object by nomadic tribes who crossed borders as a way of living, she uses carpets to research the boundaries of contemporary ideas and mediums. Originally a painter, transferring her paintings into floor works, an object one can touch, sit on, and walk through, allows Apfelbaum to explore the limitations between painting and sculpture and subsequently painting and film. When placing a carpet, an object commonly found in a domestic realm, in the public sphere of an exhibition space, Apfelbaum allows herself to investigate the line between private and public. Her commitment to traditional handicraft, whether her own longtime practice with ceramics or the merging of another’s hand in her artwork, (Red Desert, Red Mountain, Red Sea, woven by the Vasquez family Pueblo of Teotitlan del Valle, from Oaxaca Mexico, the baskets in Red Table with Red Sea Beads made by African asylum-seeking women from Kuchinate collective, based in Tel Aviv), provide Apfelbaum with the opportunity to explore the boundaries between art and craft.

Although Apfelbaum’s installations are not fixed in time or in space, one cannot ignore the location and era in which Red Desert, Red Mountain, Red Sea is being exhibit. As Apfelbaum’s examination of the boundaries between craft and art is highlighted when the viewer walks into Magasin III Jaffa from Olie Zion Street, where Persian and Afghan carpets are spread on the sidewalk, her exploration between private and public is intensified by the last two years in which we had to redefine all that we know about these terms, while moving our offices to our living rooms and celebrating our most private moments in public parks.

(1) This term was first introduced with respect to Apfelbaum’s old floor works by Kurt Varnedoe.

About the artist
Internationally renowned, New York–based artist Polly Apfelbaum is known for her energetic, large-scale colorful installations of textiles, ceramics, and paint. Apfelbaum (b. 1955 in Abington, Pennsylvania) has been exhibiting consistently in the US and internationally since the 1980s. Apfelbaum’s work crosses mediums from drawings, prints and paintings to sculpture and installations, while sharing interest in color, abstraction, post-war American culture, film, craft, and design.

Apfelbaum’s recent solo exhibitions include: Arcadia University, Glenside, PA (2022, currently open), Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Washington State University, Pullman, WA (2019) Belvedere 21, Vienna, Austria (2018), Ikon gallery, Birmingham, UK (2018) Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA (2016), Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA (2014), Clifton Benevento, New York, NY (2014); Burlington Arts Center, Burlington, VT (2014); Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai, India (2013). In addition, Apfelbaum has participated in group exhibitions at: Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, Netherlands; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein; Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA; Brown University, Providence, PA; MOCA Cleveland, OH; LACMA, Los Angeles, CA; Perez Art Museum Miami, FL; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art, Stockholm, Sweden.