Billy Apple: Art Transactions
Starkwhite presents Billy Apple: Art Transactions – an exhibition which features P.O.A. and N.F.S. along with an original 1961 drawing for the artist’s proto-conceptual work For Sale, which was recently acquired by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
Apple commented that “FOR SALE was a signifier for something that was happening everywhere. You would walk past a house in London with a sign up saying For Sale, then there was one in a shop or on a car window…”
The two seminal paintings from Apple’s Art Transactions series were conceived thirty years ago in New York during the heyday of the 80s art market boom. They mark the shift from art connoisseurship to the extraordinary commodification of art works that we are experiencing today.
The ‘art business acronyms’ of P.O.A. or price on application doesn’t divulge it’s value and directs the collector straight to dealer for a conversation while N.F.S. remains in it’s crate to emphasise it’s unavailability.
The text-based works in Apple’s Art Transactions series excavated and drew attention to the necessary relationship between artist–dealer–collector. Their prosaic titles document the activities between this nexus; Sold (1981), Bartered (1984), Exchanged (1985), Auctioned, (1985), AC/DC (1986), Commissioned (1987), P.O.A. and N.F.S. (1987).
Curator, Christina Barton notes that Art Transactions proved to be an ongoing means for the artist to negotiate his life as a social being. In 1987 the Paid series was introduced, utilising a catch phrase that Billy Apple and Wystan Curnow devised in 1985 – ‘The artist has to live like everybody else’. Apple uses Paid works to negotiate the costs of everyday living by having collectors pay his invoices; or Barter series where he exchanges professional services such as $100,000 Credit Held (in 2005 for intellectual property legal services provided by the law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts). The Transactions series even include works that function as promissory notes for Apple’s private currency (I.O.U., 1987-2009).
This exhibition will evolve into a group show (including Billy Apple) curated by Artspace director Misal Adnan Yildiz.