Billy Apple® Revealed / Concealed

Building upon his exhibition A History of the Brand on the 3rd floor, this reveals a different side to his practice. For this project, Billy Apple® will transform Witte de With’s 2nd floor, as an architectural intervention that continues his ongoing institutional critique.

The second part of Billy Apple®’s exhibition, titled Revealed/Concealed, will open on Thursday 25 June.

5-8 p.m.: Opening
5 p.m.: Guided tour of the exhibition by Christina Barton (Director of Adam Art Gallery, Wellington) and Wystan Curnow (Professor, University of Auckland)
7 p.m.: Billy Apple® in conversation with David Elliott (artistic director, 17th Sydney Biennial)

In 1969, Billy Apple® opened one of the earliest alternative art spaces in New York City, which he called Apple. Created as a showcase for his and others’ work, it developed as an important site for experimental performances and process-based installations, conceptual practices that were not being shown in many institutions or commercial galleries at that time. For example, Billy Apple® began a series of cleaning works that he classed as ‘subtractions’, activities that he documented in photographs.

It was also within this context that Billy Apple® started to make works that highlighted their physical context, site-specific installations that revealed the ‘givens’ of the architectural space. These evolved into a body of works called Censure, in which he marked red those aspects of a gallery that he found unacceptable, just as a proof-reader marks up a text for correction. The artist would then give the owners of these spaces the option of correcting the flaws, leaving his red marks in place, or painting them over and reinstating the status quo.

At Witte de With, Billy Apple® is carrying out a subtraction on a major scale. He has asked the institution to remove the kitchen and storage space from the 2nd floor galleries, functional spaces that had become almost invisible components to those of us working in the building. Revealing the previously hidden spaces inside these two symmetrical units, he is also making other aspects of the floor more symmetrical, by covering the windows on the south side of the building, restoring the ‘white cube’ to its purest form. Finally, he is opening up the covered windows at the east end of the building to create an axis of light along the length of the space.

Having ‘corrected’ the imperfections of Witte de With’s galleries, Billy Apple® will install a selection of related works – dating from 1960 to today – in these newly improved spaces.


It’s a new brand world
Event for and by young people
11-13 September 2009
More information to follow.


The exhibitions will be accompanied by a Source Book, titled Billy Apple®, published by Witte de With Publishers. This English-language monograph will include texts by Christina Barton (Senior Lecturer in Art History and Director of Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington) and Bénédicte Ramade (art critic, L’Oeil, Les Inrocktupibles, Paris), Michelle Menzies (American Field Scholar, PhD candidate at the University of Chicago), and William Wood (Assistant Professor, Art History Faculty, University of British Columbia, Vancouver). Released: September 2009.
Price: 10 euro.
ISBN: 978-90-73362-89-5

Work in public space

The two-part exhibition extends into public space with a billboard commission, created in collaboration with Sculpture International Rotterdam. These two billboards will see Billy Apple®’s designs installed on a large scale, inserting themselves into the visual fabric of the city.

Titles and locations:
*The Artist Has To Live Like Everybody Else (c)
Billy Apple®, 1985
location: Opposite Centraal Station Rotterdam, on the corner of Weena and Kruisplein

*From the Sculpture International Rotterdam Collection
Billy Apple®, 2009
location: On the corner of Schiedamse Vest and Schilderstraat, on the Herenplaats/MEE Rotterdam building



Supported By

Laan Irodjojo
Maarsen Groep
Mee Rotterdam
Joost ten Bruggencate and Jeroen Everaert from Mothership
Sculpture International Rotterdam
Creative New Zealand

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