Aptekar delves deep into the mind of big thinkers, major players

[media-credit name="Images courtesy of the artist " align="aligncenter" width="600"][/media-credit]

“The Triple Portrait of J. Robert Oppenheimer” charts the scientist’s intellectual development.

Artist’s work accessible Uptown and in Soho

Brooklyn-born, Soho-based artist Bernard Aptekar brings his uniquely perceptive paintings to the Kosciuszko Foundation — a year after the exhibition had a critically acclaimed run at the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland.

“Life has to be serious as well as playful, and you have to do it all,” says Aptekar — whose work makes good on that philosophy by burrowing deep into the psyche of political and intellectual figures, while grafting his own sometimes whimsical, sometimes ominous stamp onto their well-known public personas.

In July of 2011, in an article available online (go to downtownexpress.com and access “Soho artist finds an audience in Poland”), Sam Spokony observed: “Bernard Aptekar, 75, has never been a stranger to the dark aspects of human existence. Neither cryptic nor apologetic, his artwork has exposed and protested the cruelty and violence born of the development of civilization. The same keen eye that has guided him through towering cultural opuses like “The Defeat of the City of Plutonium: A Holocaust Prevented” (which put the ethics of technological achievement on trial) and “The Heart of the Matter” (an empathetic treatment of Cuba’s communist revolutionaries) has led Aptekar to create a series of paintings in which he focuses on some of the most unique minds in modern history. Among his subjects are Barack Obama, Mikhail Gorbachev, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Arthur Miller and Philip Roth. Their unique achievements are represented by contextual backgrounds that range from splashes of color to floating heads.”

In addition to the Kosciuszko Foundation exhibition, the public is invited to contact the artist at 212-226-7154 for a tour of his Mercer Street studio. Among the portraits on display there: “Gabriel Garcia Marquez in a Tee Shirt with Speeding Vehicles Thinks About One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Like all of his work, that title provides much information about Aptekar’s take on his subject — but stops short of revealing the whole story.

Aptekar’s interpretation of Arthur Miller.

—Scott Stiffler

ART

BERNARD APTEKAR: “PORTRAITS OF AN INTELLECTUAL  AND POLITICAL LANDSCAPE”
Through June 12
Mon.-Fri., 9am-5pm
At the Kosciuszko Foundation
15 E. 65th St., btw. Madison & 5th Aves.
For info on the exhibition, call 212-734-2130 or visit thekf.org
To access Aptekar’s paintings, sculpture & seriographs, visit aptekar.net/bernard

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