IFPDA Executive Director Jenny Gibbs reached out to artist Polly Apfelbaum
for her favorite works from the IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair
. Apfelbaum’s masterful curation of images presents a highly personal and delightfully idiosyncratic selection of works informed by a sensitive reading of New York poet Frank O’Hara (1926-1966). Each of these totemic images is a micro-novel about the texture of life in the city and the silence of life in solitude during a quarantine.
Because of the virus, I have been out of the City since March. Going through the extensive resources of IFPDA enabled me to bring a bit of New York City back into my life. I decided to make a little show with the New York School poet Frank O’Hara as a good guide. (Read: “Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!]” by Frank O’Hara
Here are a few thoughts: Isabel Bishop
’s drawings from the 1940s (the subway and a cafeteria) go with Catherine Murphy’
s print from the 1970s (a self portraits and a window view). Beginning in the 1950’s Antonio Frasconi
made prints of the neighborhood I’ve lived and worked in since 1978 (Fulton Street Pier and the Brooklyn Bridge). And Ida Applebroog’s
prints, as a reminder of all the shopping possibilities.
I thought two British people could help: Cornelia Parker
’s haunted domestic objects and Rose Wiley
’s humor. To bring it all home the ever-current Peter Saul
: Modern Home
and Holey Moley
. Both speak to the disturbing times we live in.
Finally, it's important to remember that the "Americas" includes the south too: here is another beautiful image of an American city, with nature part of the landscape of the city, optimistically looking to the future.
Thank you IFPDA. Prints are a big part of my life, I love making them and looking at them.
Elizaville, NY, 05/28/2020
Postscript, June 2, 2020
Since I put this selection of prints together a week ago, violent protests have erupted in America’s cities. New York is under a curfew. The anger is real and justified. What we need today is considered and compassionate leadership. Perhaps the optimism of this modest collection seems irrelevant in the face of violence, anger and protest. But cities thrive on difference; they should be a home for all Americans. I still believe in the city, and the ability of creative work to point to a more optimistic future. I put this out there in sadness and solidarity.
Apfelbaum's Selections from the IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair Online