The two site-specific wallpapers originally included in this exhibition (see below) will continue to be presented in the University Commons through May 27, 2022.
Arcadia Exhibitions is pleased to present "Polly Apfelbaum: For the Love of Una Hale", on view from February 3 through April 17, 2022. Handcrafted during an extended residency at Arcadia University, Polly Apfelbaum’s new ceramic works will be contextualized by site-specific wallpapers in the Rosedale Gallery, and an exhibition of works by noted Pennsylvania folk artist and antiques dealer David Ellinger (1913-2003). "Out of the Heart: The Life and Art of David Ellinger" will be concurrently on view in the Harrison Gallery, University Commons.
Polly Apfelbaum, “Polly Apfelbaum: For the Love of Una Hale,” 2022, Installation view, Spruance Gallery. All works depicted courtesy of the artist, Frith Street Gallery, London, and Galerie näscht St. Stephan, Vienna. Photo: Aaron Igler/Greenhouse Media.
Polly Apfelbaum is a multidisciplinary artist who engages art history, the applied arts, and popular culture through large-scale installations that assemble fabrics or rugs, ceramics, drawings, paintings, sculptures, found objects, and immersive color. Exploring contemporary ideas surrounding craft and gender, "For the Love of Una Hale" examines the early influence of Pennsylvania German craft traditions on the artist’s hybrid sensibility.
“The goal is to interpret the personal as political,” said Apfelbaum, citing her long history of working with materials associated with craft, the everyday, installation, and space of the gallery. “I'm starting to look back at my history, where the inspiration came from, and how my personal experiences relate to the complex life and work of the painter David Ellinger.”
Polly Apfelbaum, Barn Face (Brown Nose), 2021, terracotta and glaze, courtesy of the artist, Frith Street Gallery, London, and Galerie näscht St. Stephan, Vienna.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public programs and a publication featuring essays by Tessa Bachi Haas, Wayne Koestenbaum, Lisa Minardi, David Pagel, Jenelle Porter, Jenni Sorkin, and Richard Torchia, and a transcription of a studio conversation with Apfelbaum, Gregg Moore, Rachel Geisinger and Elizabeth Ferrell, moderated and introduced by Ezra Shales. Together with "Out of the Heart: The Life and Art of David Ellinger", an exhibition curated by Lisa Minardi, executive director of Historic Trappe, “For the Love of Una Hale” explores Pennsylvania German art and celebrates Ellinger’s multifaceted creative output as an antiques dealer, a gardener, a prolific artist, and drag show performer (Una Hale)."
Major support for "Polly Apfelbaum: For the Love of Una Hale" and "Out of the Heart: The Life and Art of David Ellinger" has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage with additional support from Creative Capital.
There Are Many Hearts, 2020
Along with tulips and birds, the heart is an emblem iconic to Pennsylvania German folk art and fraktur, handwritten birth and baptismal certificates, marriage and house blessings. This wallpaper was one of the first projects that Polly Apfelbaum conceived for her exhibition at Arcadia. The point-to-point pattern was subsequently used to create a series of woodblock monoprints editioned by Durham Press in Durham, Pennsylvania, about an hour north of Glenside.
Polly Apfelbaum, There Are Many Hearts 2020, site-specific wallpaper (ink on adhesive vinyl), dimensions variable, courtesy of the artist, Frith Street Gallery, London, and Galerie näscht St. Stephan, Vienna. Photo: Aaron Igler/ Greenhouse Media
Pattern and Apparition, 2015
For this work, Apfelbaum appropriated hand-drawn weaving designs from of a 1771 Pennsylvania German pattern book (or Musterbuch) in the collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Intrigued by the way the timeworn ink and watercolor images had bled through the manuscript pages, Apfelbaum gridded scans of their fronts of backs and digitally superimposed a line of "non-photo blue" to indicate their original sequence in the book. This particular shade of blue, used primarily before the onset of digital imaging, cannot be detected by graphic arts camera film and allows layout editors to write notes on material to be sent to print that will not appear in the final form. Applied here, it evokes spray-painted graffiti that obscures portions of the weaving patterns but also encourages viewers to look closer.
Polly Apfelbaum, Pattern and Apparition, 2015 site-specific wallpaper (ink on adhesive vinyl), dimensions variable, courtesy of the artist, Frith Street Gallery, London, and Galerie näscht St. Stephan, Vienna. Photo: Aaron Igler/ Greenhouse Media
The meandering blue line is also the ostensible “apparition” of the work’s title, a play on “Pattern & Decoration”, a movement that emerged in the mid-1970s that celebrated aspects of artmaking often associated with the domestic practices, design, and non-Western sources generally absent from the minimal and conceptual works being produced at the time. The specific paths of these lines are digitally "re-sprayed" over the pages in response to the display conditions provided by the available walls, thus generating a new pattern each time the work is presented for a different site.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Polly Apfelbaumreceived her BFA from Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. She has lived and worked in New York City since 1978 and since her first one-person-show in the city in 1986 has shown consistently in the United States and internationally. In addition to her current exhibition at Arcadia, Apfelbaum’s recent work is featured in solo presentations at the Kunstmuseum Luzern and Magasin III (Jaffa, Israel). In 2019, her exhibition, “Haystack Hands”, was presented in conjunction with a residency at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Deer Isle, Maine) in 2019.
Other recent shows include “Waiting for the UFOs” at Ikon (Birmingham, UK) and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, Missouri), “Happiness Runs” at Belvedere 21 (Vienna), “Dubuffet’s Feet, My Hands” at Frith Street Gallery (London), as well as “The Potential of Women” at Alexander Gray Associates (New York). A major mid-career survey of her work debuted at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia in the summer of 2003 and traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio and Kansas City. “Polly Apfelbaum + Dan Cole: For the Love of Gene Davis” was presented in 2014 by Temple Contemporary as part of Tyler School of Art’s Distinguished Alumni Mentoring Program.
A sampling of recent group exhibitions includes “ABstranded: Fiber and Abstraction in Contemporary Art” at the Everson Museum of Art (New York), “Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale” at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia), "Out of Place: A Feminist Look at the Collection" at Brooklyn Museum (New York), “Maneuver”, at The Artist’s Institute at Hunter College (New York), “What Beauty is, I know not” at König Gallery, Berlin, “Via Appia” at Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Vienna, and “Less Is a Bore: Maximalist Art & Design” at ICA Boston.
Apfelbaum received a Creative Capital Award in 2018 and in 2012/13 was a Rome Prize recipient at the American Academy in Rome. She also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Joan Mitchell Grant, and an Anonymous Was A Woman Grant, among other awards. Her work is part of many significant public collections, including those of The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Dallas Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge-sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center invests in ambitious, imaginative, and catalytic work that showcases the region’s cultural vitality and enhances public life, and engages in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural practitioners and leaders.
At this time, Arcadia University is not requiring, but welcoming the wearing of masks in our indoor spaces. Please visit https://gallery.arcadia.edu prior to your visit to check on any updates to Arcadia's on-campus public health requirements.
Both/And: Polly Apfelbaum and the Ceramics Workshop / Studio
April 12, 2022
Great Room, University Commons
A presentation by Ezra Shales, Professor, History of Art Department, Massachusetts College of Art and Design,
followed by a conversation with Shales and
Polly Apfelbaum, Artist in Residence
Gregg Moore, Professor of Art and Design, Arcadia University Pre-register for this event. This in-person event will also be available for remote audiences via Zoom.
This discussion—to be introduced and contextualized by remarks from Ezra Shales—will explore Polly Apfelbaum's 2020-22 residency in the ceramics studio at Arcadia University overseen and facilitated by Gregg Moore and studio assistant Rachel Geisinger (Class of 2019), while also addressing questions related to Apfelbaum's singular approach to production and display.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
Polly Apfelbaum see"About the Artist"
Gregg Moore is Professor of Art and Design and Director of the Ceramics program at Arcadia University. His studio practice explores the relationship between ceramics and new media, drawing from historical foundations while questioning and investigating perceptions of the ceramic field. Core to his practice are collaborations with scientists, chefs, curators and visual artists. His current work ranges from ceramic tableware to sculpture and multimedia installation, all of which examine ideas around food culture, farming, cooking and eating. Moore received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Geosciences from Skidmore College and his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.
Ezra Shales, Ph.D., is the author of two books; his second, The Shape of Craft (Reaktion, 2017), prompted a reviewer to characterize him as a “philosopher of the factory floor.” In 2019, he contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue Polly Apfelbaum: Waiting for the UFOs organized by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2022, his article “Beautiful, plain objects like [SKF] ball bearings”: The Enigma of Aestheticizing Anonymity in ‘Machine Art’ and Modernist Logotypes will be published in the Journal of Design History. He teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
April 7, 2022
Great Room, University Commons
A conversation with
Polly Apfelbaum, Artist in Residence
Lynne Cooke, Senior Curator for special projects, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Jenelle Porter, Independent curator and writer
Since the early 1990s Polly Apfelbaum has been recognized for floor works employing hand-dyed velvet and large-scale woven rugs distinguished by their investigation of the materiality of color. During her 2020-22 residency at Arcadia University, Apfelbaum produced a new body of ceramics, PA Abstracts, that directly reference the palette and patterns of Pennsylvania German quilts. Building on the experience of two curators and writers whose recent research and projects have focused on the work of artists applying weaving, fiber, and fabric, this panel will provide a backdrop for discussing Apfelbaum's new ceramics in light of her broader, boundary-blurring practice.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
Polly Apfelbaum see"About the Artist"
Lynne Cookeis the senior curator, special projects in modern art, at the National Gallery of Art. Prior to her appointment to this role in 2014, Cooke spent two years as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the Gallery’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), engaged in independent research that ultimately resulted in “Outliers and American Vanguard Art”, an exhibition that explored relationships between mainstream and self- taught artists in 20th and 21st century America. After opening at the National Gallery of Art in January 2018, it traveled to The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She is currently at work on “Braided Histories,” a planned 2023 exhibition that will explore affiliations and interchanges between abstract artists and textile designers and producers.
Jenelle Porter is a curator and writer. She has organized a range of exhibitions, including “Less Is a Bore: Maximalist Art & Design” (2019) and “Fiber: Sculpture 1960–present” (2014) at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston; “Mike Kelley: Timeless Painting” (2019) at Hauser & Wirth in New York; and “Dance with Camera” (2009) and “Dirt on Delight: Impulses That Form Clay” (2009) at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; as well as monographic exhibitions on artists such as Nick Cave, Trisha Donnelly, Jeffrey Gibson, Charline von Heyl, Christina Ramberg, Matthew Ritchie, Kay Sekimachi, and Arlene Shechet, among many others. She has held curatorial positions at ICA/Boston, ICA Philadelphia, Artists Space, Walker Art Center, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She lives in Los Angeles.
Queer as Folk: Exploring LGBTQ+ Identity through David Ellinger's Performance as Una Hale
March 28, 2022
David Ellinger as Una Hale from Femme Mimics by E. Carlton Winford, Dallas, Winford Co., 1954
A panel discussion with
Leo Fahringer '19, BFA Illustration and Drag Performer
Tessa Bachi Haas, Independent Curator and PhD Candidate, Bryn Mawr College
Bob Skiba, Curator, John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives of Philadelphia, William Way LGBT Community Center
Dito van Reigersberg/Martha Graham Cracker
Credited with helping popularize Pennsylvania German folk art through his efforts as an artist and dealer, David Ellinger (1913-2003) also toured regional venues as a female impersonator whose stage name was Una Hale. This panel will consider Ellinger’s cross-disciplinary, creative practice as a platform for discussing the historical evolution of drag in the formation of queer identity as we understand it today.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
Tessa Bachi Haas is a Ph.D Candidate in the History of Art at Bryn Mawr College, where she earned her MA in 2019. Her research engages digital archives, embodiment, and net art, particularly through queer studies and material culture methodologies. She has curated and co-curated exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the Center for Creative Works, Bryn Mawr College Special Collections, and AUTOMAT. She has contributed to exhibition planning and publications at PAFA, Arcadia Exhibitions; the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art at Harvard University; and the American Philosophical Society. Haas is an archivist at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia.
Bob Skiba is the Curator of Collections at the John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives at the William Way Community Center. He is the author of the popular “Gayborhood Guru” blog and of the Philadelphia LGBT Mapping Project, where he’s documented over 1200 places important to the area’s queer history and culture. Skiba is a founding member and 6-term past president of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides and is the co-author of two books on Philadelphia history: Lost Philadelphia and Philadelphia Then and Now.
Dito van Reigersberg is a co-founder of Pig Iron Theatre Company. He has performed in almost all of Pig Iron’s productions since its founding, including the OBIE-winning original pieces Hell Meets Henry Halfway and Chekhov Lizardbrain. His alter-ego Martha Graham Cracker performs regularly at Joe’s Pub and is famously "the tallest, hairiest drag queen in the world” – check out her album of songs about show biz, heartbreak, and libraries called Lashed But Not Leashed.
Leo Fahringer '19 is an interdisciplinary illustrator and fiber artist from rural central Pennsylvania. Graduating from Arcadia University with a BFA in Illustration in 2019, Leo’s thesis focused on the interconnectivity between clothing and queer identity/culture from the years 1950-2000 in the United States. Now living in Dundee, Scotland, Leo is a freelance artist specializing in textural embroidery as well as a drag performer under the name Eden Spaghetti. Leo uses his experience of growing up as a queer and transgender individual in a rural setting to inform his work in all its forms.
"Out of the Heart: The Life and Art of David Ellinger"
Lecture by Lisa Minardi
February 24, 2022
On Thursday, February 24, Lisa Minardi will lecture about “Out of the Heart: The Life and Art of David Ellinger” in the Great Room, University Commons. Her presentation will begin at 6:30 PM and will be followed by a walk-through of the exhibition, directly upstairs. Advance registration required. This in-person event will also be available for remote audiences via Zoom.
Conversation with Polly Apfelbaum and Lynn Zelevansky
February 16, 2022
Artist Polly Apfelbaum will discuss her recent exhibition and residency with art historian and curator Lynn Zelevansky in the Great Room, University Commons at 6:30 PM.Advance registration required. This in-person event will also be available for remote audiences via Zoom.