Polly Apfelbaum (American b.1955) is an installation and mixed media artist, best known for her "fallen paintings," which transcend the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and installation. She is also known for her creative use of color, shape, and form. The artist often works through pieces of dyed fabric arranged on the floor to give the impression that abstract paintings have fallen off the walls and arranged themselves on the floor. Although noted for her playfulness and wit, Apfelbaum also tackles more weighty subjects, such as feminism and popular culture. Born in Abington, PA, Apfelbaum studied at the Tyler School of Art in Pennsylvania and SUNY Purchase College in New York.
The artist began her professional career in New York, with her first solo show in 1986. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, she contributed to a number of significant group exhibitions, such as Sense and Sensibility: Women and Minimalism in the 90s, at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, (1995), Painting Outside Painting, at the 44th Corcoran Painting Biennial, Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, D.C. (1996), and Painting-The Extended Field, at Magasin 3, Stockholm, Sweden, (1997).
Moving into the 20th century, Apfelbaum has regularly been featured in solo exhibitions such as Resonance, at Frith Street Gallery, London, UK (2006), but she also continues to contribute to group exhibitions such as Comic Abstraction: Image Breaking, Image Making, at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. In 2003, the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia featured a mid-career retrospective of her work, which went on tour in 2004. Her work has also been collected by major museums in the United States, such as The Museum of Modern of Art, in New York, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Dallas Museum of Art. Along with the architects Stanley Allen (American b.1956), Jesse Reiser (American b.1958), and Nanko Umemoto (American), Apfelbaum founded the architectural group RAAUm. She is currently represented by D'Amelio Terras (D'Amelio Terras Gallery). Apfelbaum lives and works in New York.