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Ken Aptekar: Recent Portraits    Mar 11 - Apr 17, 2010


Press release:

James Graham & Sons Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Ken Aptekar, Recent Portraits, which marks the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. The show will be on exhibit from March 11th through April 17th, 2010.

Portrait subjects for Aptekar’s exhibition include Ira Glass, of NPR’s award-winning This American Life, as well as Julia Peyton-Jones, Director of the Serpentine Gallery, London’s internationally recognized contemporary art museum. Seven other portraits of individuals from different walks of life round out the group. Aptekar will present a self-portrait as well. Think great dinner party: rich and poor; well-known by millions, or few; artists and people who could care less about art; young and old.

Aptekar’s portraits are not recognizable visual representations of his "sitters." Rather, they result from the artist’s collaboration with his subject, their discussions about paintings they look at, either in the subjects’ home or in a museum. Aptekar videotapes these conversations and then uses the painting or paintings they look at as source material for the new painting with an overlay of words developed out of what is said during their conversations. Text is sandblasted onto thick glass that's bolted over the painting. Instead of representing how the sitter looks, Aptekar’s portraits represent how the sitter looks at paintings.

Also included in the exhibition will be a series of works recently commissioned by the Mint Museum based on a portrait of Queen Charlotte, the mixed race wife of King George III. Following this exhibition these six works will be installed as part of the permanent collection housed in the Mint Museum's new building in Charlotte, NC. Their exhibition opens October 1, 2010.

Aptekar was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1950 and received his BFA at the University of Michigan (1973) and an MFA from Pratt Institute (1975). Aptekar has had solo exhibitions at The Victoria & Albert Museum (London), The Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), Memorial Art Gallery (Rochester, NY), Espace d'Art Contemporain Camille Lambert (Juvisy, France), The New Museum (NY), Palmer Museum at Penn State, Cummer Museum (Jacksonville, FL), the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, and the Elaine Jacob Gallery at Wayne State University in Detroit. A survey exhibition of his work, Ken Aptekar: Painting Between the Lines, 1990-2000, organized by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, completed its tour in the United States in 2002. Aptekar is the recipient of two NEA Fellowships in Painting, a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Award, a Rockefeller Residency at Bellagio, Djerassi Resident Artist Program residencies, and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award. Among the museum collections in which Aptekar's work can be found are the Jewish Museum (NY), the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Denver Art Museum, the National Museum of American Art, the Kemper Museum, and the Contemporary Art Trust (UK), and the San Jose Museum of Art.

Recently the artist launched the blog Repainter Diaries at http://repainterdiaries.com.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 to 5:30, and Saturday, 10:00 to 5:00. For more information, please contact Priscilla Vail Caldwell or Cristine Chiasson at the gallery at 212-535-5767.

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