Creative New Zealand acknowledges the passing of Billy Apple

6 Sep 2021

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NEWS

Billy Apple® looking into a microscope at his immortalised cells
Billy Apple® Looking at his Immortalised Cells 2009

Kua taka te hua o te rākau Aporo kua hoki anō ki te whenua. The fruit has fallen from the apple tree and returned to the earth

It is with great sadness that Creative New Zealand acknowledges the passing of acclaimed and innovative artist Billy Apple.

In 1962 in London, Barry Bates took the radical step of changing his name to Billy Apple in order to establish a new identity as a brand.

“Removing the arbitrary distinction between art and life, Apple went on to position many everyday objects and activities as art. Since that time, Billy’s work has continued to explore and interrogate the line between art and commerce. Throughout his long and successful career, he drew inspiration from everyday life, challenging perception and convention with every artwork produced,” says Kate Montgomery, Arts Practice Director, Visual Arts & Craft/Object.

Creative New Zealand and our predecessor, the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, are proud to have supported Apple’s career and innovative practice via projects that supported new work development and presentation, assisted him to maintain and extend important international professional connections and supported in-depth curatorial engagement and other forms of collaboration with Apple and his archive. 

He autaia, he nanakia tonu, nāna i tohe kia anga atu te titiro ki te toi o ngā rangi.  Haere atu e te ho. 
A unique and colourful personality that explored beyond the horizons of normalcy to extraordinary.  Farewell Billy.