Polly Apfelbaum has been showing consistently in New York and abroad since her first one-person show in New York in 1986. A major mid-career survey of her work opened in 2003 at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. The show traveled through 2004, and a catalogue surveying fifteen years of her work was published by the ICA Philadelphia.
Apfelbaum has held recent solo exhibitions at: Otis College of Art and Design (2016), Bepart, Belgium (2015), Frith Street Gallery, London (2014), lumberroom, Portland, OR (2014), Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA (2014), Clifton Benevento, New York, NY (2014); Burlington Arts Center, Burlington, VT (2014); Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai, India (2013); Galerie Nächst St. Stephan, Vienna, (2012); D’Amelio Gallery, New York, (2012); Hansel und Gretel Picture Garden, New York, (2012); Michael Benevento, Los Angeles, (2011); Carlow Visual Center for Contemporary Art, Carlow, Ireland, (2009); and Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, UK, (2009).
Apfelbaum came to prominence in the 1990s and is best known for what the artist refers to as her "fallen paintings." These large-scale installations consist of hundreds of hand-cut and hand-dyed pieces of velvet fabric that are arranged on the floor. These installations exist as a hybrid between painting and sculpture and occupy an ambiguous space between the two genres.