Is Billy Apple Living or Dead?

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Billy Apple

New Zealand artist

Billy Apple is ...


Born 1935 in Auckland
Died 6 September 2021 in Auckland
Age 86 years, 8 months

Sex or gender male
Country of citizenship New Zealand
Birth name Barrie Bates
Occupation sculptor, painter and conceptual artist
Residence New York City and Auckland
Awards Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit
Educated at Royal College of Art

About Billy Apple

Billy Apple, the New Zealand-born artist, has been a fixture in the art world for over six decades. Born in Auckland on January 1, 1935, Apple's early life was marked by a fascination with the intersection of art and commerce. After studying at the Royal College of Art in London, he moved to New York City in the early 1960s, where he quickly became a part of the burgeoning Pop Art scene.

Apple's work is characterized by its use of commercial imagery and language, often subverting the very systems he critiques. His early works, such as "The American Supermarket" (1964), which he co-created with fellow artists Claes Oldenburg and Tom Wesselmann, were among the first to explore the relationship between art and consumer culture.

Throughout his career, Apple has continued to push the boundaries of what art can be. His work has taken many forms, from paintings and sculptures to performance art and conceptual pieces. In the 1970s, he began to incorporate his own identity into his work, using his name and image as a kind of brand.

Despite his success, Apple has remained committed to his roots in New Zealand. In recent years, he has returned to his homeland, where he continues to create art and mentor young artists.

Apple's influence on the art world cannot be overstated. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, and he has been the subject of numerous retrospectives. His legacy is one of innovation, experimentation, and a relentless pursuit of artistic truth.


- "Billy Apple: The Artist Who Put His Name on the Art World." The Guardian, 20 Nov. 2015,

- "Billy Apple." Art New Zealand, no. 129, 2009, pp. 46–51.,

- "Billy Apple." Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki,

About Death

Apple died on the morning of 6 September 2021 following a "short illness". He was 85.

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