Apfelbaum's work is both painting and sculpture, and perhaps photography and fashion and formless material process as well. Its all these things - wildly so and wildly not so.
Lane Relyea, What Does Love have to Do With It (Catalog) 2003
Polly Apfelbaum has been showing consistently in New York and abroad since her first one-person show in New York in 1986. A major mid-career survey of her work opened in 2003 at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. The show traveled through 2004, and a catalogue surveying fifteen years of her work was published by the ICA Philadelphia.
Apfelbaum has held recent solo exhibitions at: Otis College of Art and Design (2016), Bepart, Belgium (2015), Frith Street Gallery, London (2014), lumberroom, Portland, OR (2014), Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA (2014), Clifton Benevento, New York, NY (2014); Burlington Arts Center, Burlington, VT (2014); Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai, India (2013); Galerie Nächst St. Stephan, Vienna, (2012); D’Amelio Gallery, New York, (2012); Hansel und Gretel Picture Garden, New York, (2012); Michael Benevento, Los Angeles, (2011); Carlow Visual Center for Contemporary Art, Carlow, Ireland, (2009); and Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, UK, (2009).
Her work has been featured in important group exhibitions including: The Sound of Ceramics, Brown University, Providence, RI (2016); Wall to Wall, MOCA Cleveland Cleveland, OH (2016); An Irruption of the Rainbow, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Electric Zinnia, The Suburban, Milwaukee, WI (2015); The Three Graces, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY (2015); For The Love of Gene Davis, Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia, PA (2014); Marksmallow, Galerie Mark Muller, Zurich, Switzerland (2015); AMERICANA, Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL (2013); Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (2012); Comic Abstraction (2007); Lines, Grids, Stains, and Words (2008); both at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Pink, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, (2007); Extreme Abstraction, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, (2005); The Shape of Colour, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, (2005); A Kind of Bliss, The Drawing Room, London (2004); Flowers Observed, Flowers Transformed, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2004);Lodz Biennale, Lodz, Poland, (2004); and The Ideal City, Bienal de Valencia, Spain (2003).
Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern of Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of Art of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; and The Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY. The artist has received important grants and awards, including the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Richard Diebenkorn Fellowship, a Joan Mitchell Fellowship, an Artist's Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, an Anonymous Was a Women Award and a Pollack-Krasner Foundation grant.
Significant group exhibitions from her earlier career include: Sense and Sensibility: Women and Minimalism in the 90's, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, (1995); Painting Outside Painting, 44th Corcoran Painting Biennial, Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, D.C., (1996); Painting-The Extended Field, Magasin 3, Stockholm, Sweden, (1997); Other, 4th Biennale D'art Contemporain de Lyon, France, curated by Harald Szeemann, (1998); Everyday 11th Biennale of Sydney, Australia, (1998); Postmark: An Abstract Effect, Site Santa Fe, NM, (1999); Operativo, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, (2001); Sculpture as Field, Kunstverein Gottingen, Gottingen, Germany, (2001); The Eye of the Beholder, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, Scotland, (2002); and As Painting: Division and Displacement, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, (2002).