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APPLE®, Billy
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Billy Apple was born Barrie Bates in 1935. He adopted his better-known persona in London in 1962, following a course of study at the Royal College of Art. He was involved in the British pop art movement, associating with notable figures like David Hockney (a lifelong friend) and Pauline Boty. In 1964, he moved to New York, where he exhibited in the landmark American Supermarket, alongside key American pop artists, including Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol. He was among the first artists to use industrial technologies like xerography and neon, and was an important force in the development of conceptual art. Between 1969 and 1973, he operated the alternative, not-for-profit space APPLE. He later turned his attention to explorations of the art market.

Apple returned to Aotearoa periodically, and Tāmaki was his home base by 1990. In 2007, Billy Apple became a registered trademark. Throughout the last decade of his life, the artist was highly visible. He is discussed in books, such as Christina Barton’s Billy Apple®: Life/Work (2020) and Thomas Crow’s The Hidden Mod in Modern Art: London, 1957–1969 (2020). In 2015, his work featured in International Pop, organised by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki hosted a major retrospective curated by Barton, Billy Apple®: The Artist Has to Live Like Everybody Else. He showed with his primary dealer galleries, The Mayor Gallery in London and Starkwhite in Tāmaki, and works appeared at diverse public institutions, locally and internationally. Few Aotearoa artists have been so highly regarded.

Aotearoa New Zealand; United Kingdom; United States of America;
Date of birth
31 December 1935
Place of birth
Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa,
Date of death
06 December 2021
Place of death
Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa,

APPLE®, Billy;

Drawing and Reliefs (diptych)

1996, Laser print on paper; compressed foam board

APPLE®, Billy;

From the Fletcher Challenge Art Collection

1999, 1530 x 1067mm, Acrylic on canvas

APPLE®, Billy;

Sketch for From the Fletcher Challenge Art Collection

c.1999, 297 x 210mm, Marker pen on paper