Kenneth Aptekar, Three Acts (installation view), 2004. DVD projection, color, 13:00 minutes. Photo by David Krapes.

A Personal Public: Ken Aptekar

Image Gallery

August 20 - November 18, 2004

Ken Aptekar's most recent body of work examines the personal and artistic exploits of Madame de Pompadour (1721-64), Louis XV's mistress, and one of the most prodigious and influential artistic patrons of 18th century Europe. Drawing upon the rich art and history of 18th century France, Aptekar's sensuous, narrative oil paintings consist of faithfully repainted passages from historical portraits of Mme de Pompadour—primarily by François Boucher (1703-70)—that are bolted under thick glass. Each sheet of glass is etched with a story or textual fragment that interacts with the painting's imagery and the viewer—in enigmatic and temporally discontinuous ways. As described by art historian Mieke Bal, "The performance asked of the viewer/reader is time-consuming, slowed-down by the work's commitment to promote caring, loving and reciprocal attention, promoted by the various elements that slow it down—from glaring glass to the enticing text, from the verbal, visual and verbal/visual puns to the ambiguities of tense and tone." ("Sticky Images," in Time and the Image, Carolyn Baily Gill, ed., p. 93). For this special exhibition, Reed College is honored to be collaborating with the Portland Art Museum in order to display Boucher's Portrait of a Young Lady, c.1750, in dialogue with Ken Aptekar's contemporary project.

Monday, September 27 at 7:00 pm, Artist Talk in Psychology 105
Ken Aptekar will speak on his work, followed by a reception at the Cooley Gallery. Free and open to the public.

Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1950, Aptekar received his BFA at the University of Michigan, and his MFA at the Pratt Institute. Aptekar has had solo exhibitions at The Victoria & Albert Museum, London; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY; and The New Museum, New York, New York; the Steinbaum Krauss Gallery, NY; the Jack Shainman Gallery, NY; and the Bess Cutler Gallery, NY. 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, toured the United States in 2001—2002. Numerous group exhibitions include: Too Jewish? Challening Traditional Identities and The Perpetual Well: Comemporary Art from the Collection of The Jewish Museum, The Jewish Museum, NY; Going for Baroque, the Walters Gallery, Baltimore, MD; Bad Girls, UCLA; and The Other Ma11T, he New Museum, NY. Aptekar is the recipient of two NEA Fellowships in Painting, a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Award, a Rockefeller Residency at Bcllagio, several Djerassi Resident Artist Program awards, and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award. He lives with the writer Eunice Lipton and divides his time between Paris and New York.

Exhibition curator: Stephanie Snyder, director and curator, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery