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Ken Aptekar Awarded $50,000 Grant for 2015 Museum Exhibition

Aptekar lg
Study, I Thought We Were Friends”, 2012, painting on panel with sandblasted glass 

A private New York philanthropic fund has awarded Ken Aptekar (BFA 1973) a $50,000 grant, administered through the New York Foundation for the Arts. The grant supports development of a solo exhibition in Lübeck, Germany, at the St. Annen Museum in 2015. Director Dr. Thorsten Rodiek, previously Director of the Felix Nussbaum Haus in Osnabruck, Germany, and commissioner of that museum’s Daniel Liebeskind building, was excited and pleased” to learn of this early support of the exhibition in Lübeck, entitled NACHBARN (NEIGHBORS). It opens February 15, and will remain on view through June 28, 2015. The grant follows a previous award from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, NY, in support of the same exhibition.

Aptekar’s project will feature paintings-with-text, silverpoint drawings, and video installations that prompt conversations across the fence,” between the Renaissance Christian art in the St. Annen Museum and the imposing 1870 synagogue right next door. This exhibition will be the eighth museum project the artist has undertaken. It is his first in Germany, where seventy years after the end of WWII, tensions between Jews and Christians still necessitate a 24/7 police guard post in front of the Lübeck synagogue.

NEIGHBORS proposes that paintings from the past can prompt Lübeck’s Germans, Russian Jews, and Turkish Muslims, whose neighboring three mosques are a short walk from the museum, to see how much they share. While the exhibition will recall the painful history of Jews in the Nazi era, it will evoke as well the presence of a vibrant Jewish community in this northern corner of Germany, and the role neighbors played for many years in creating that community. Aptekar’s works will be exhibited alongside works in the 16th century cloistered convent that houses the museum’s historic collection and in the new Kunsthalle attached to it. 

NEIGHBORS follows Aptekar’s previous museum interventions, including TALKING TO PICTURES at the Corcoran Museum in Washington, DC (1997), GIVE AND TAKE at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (2000), CHARLOTTE’S CHARLOTTE at the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC, (on view now), and projects in Paris, Sao Paolo, and Portland, OR.