For his From the Collection series (which was inaugurated in 1988), Billy Apple collaborates with private, corporate and institutional collectors to produce individualised works in various formats and mediums. These always feature the words, ‘From the collection’, but also have the name of the collector inserted so that they become inextricably linked to their owners. Though Apple always controls the graphic style of the series, owners can suggest the colour, scale and substrate to personalise their possession.
Wystan Curnow, Professor of English at the University of Auckland, writes:
Whoever purchases a Billy Apple and becomes a party to one of his transactions, confesses a special interest in and desire for his work, and declares themselves a player in the art world. She or he says: I bought it. I swapped it. I exchanged it. I’m putting my money and my mark on an Apple and taking the consequences. I own it. Their ownership lacks the usual anonymity, a fact which becomes all too apparent whenever the works…enter…the context of public display.