NZ Festival: Being Billy Apple - Saturday 22 December

NZ Festival: Being Billy Apple
Saturday 22 December, 9.45pm

Better known as Billy Apple, Barry Bates was born in New Zealand in the 1930s and studied at the Royal College of Art in London, before re-branding himself ‘Billy Apple a living work of art’ in 1962.

Tonight’s NZ Festival: Being Billy Apple follows the artist’s life (at 9.45pm on TV ONE). Genius or con, the spectrum of opinion on the life and work of this New Zealand-born maverick is infinite.
Billy Apple moved to New York in the mid-60s where he took part in a ground-breaking Pop Art exhibition which featured Roy Lichenstein, Claus Oldenburg and Andy Warhol. He went on to run his own gallery Apple, one of a handful of artist-run spaces in Manhattan that was part of the emerging conceptual art scene.

Billy Apple’s art and life were extreme. When he ceased to be Barry Bates, he cut all contact with his family in New Zealand. As a living artwork, everything he did was classified as art including works like ‘Window Cleaning’ and ‘Floor Scrubbing’ – he continually pushed the boundaries of what it meant to be an artist.

Billy Apple has sparked outrage and incredulity, inspiration and awe – his works are held by some of the world’s most prominent galleries including the Guggenheim and The Tate. He never shuns controversy and lives every minute of his life as an artwork. Being Billy Apple isn’t always easy, for him or those around him.

Watch Being Billy Apple to see his journey from boyhood to brand, on tonight’s NZ Festival documentary.

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