The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki is currently showing Billy Apple®: The Artist Has To Live Like Everybody Else, an exhibition surveying work produced during a career spanning over 50 years.
Billy Apple was 'born' in London in 1962, the same year he graduated from the Royal College of Art, when the 26 year old artist changed his name and bleached his hair. By reinventing himself, Apple sought to establish a new relationship between the the artist and everyday life by exploring how he could be redefined as a 'product' with his own distinct brand.
His commitment to testing the boundaries between art and life continue to this day. In 2007 Billy Apple® registered his name as a trademark. He is now involved in various projects that explore the legal concept of intellectual property by bringing his art brand into the market place. As Apple says, he is a brand looking for product and the survy show includes recent examples of this move, such as his Billy Apple Cider produced through a collaboration with Saatchi & Saatchi's Derek Lockwood.
Apple's contributions to the history of pop and conceptual art have been recognised internationally, with a major two-part survey at Rotterdam's Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art in 2009, curated by Nicholaus Schafhausen. He is also represented in the Walker Art Centre's forthcoming survey of pop art opening in Minneapolis in 2016.
Curated by Christina Barton, Billy Apple®: The Artist Has To Live Like Everybody Else runs to 21 June 2015.
Image: Billy Apple (above), Billy Apple Cider (middle) and Billy Apple Art Free for the Taking, 2015 (below), a free multiple which is being snapped up by visitors to the the exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery