Larry Rivers, Jewish Themes, Opens at Temple Adas

Larry Rivers.“Jews Harp,”Pencil and colored pencil on paper.
Larry Rivers.“Jews Harp,”Pencil and colored pencil on paper.

Temple Adas Israel, at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Atlantic Avenue in Sag Harbor, will host an opening reception for “Larry Rivers, Jewish Themes,” on Sunday, June 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. Co-curated by Mindy Cantor and Ann Chwatsky, with the support of David Joel, Executive Director of the Larry Rivers Foundation, the show will feature a collection of Mr. Rivers’ art depicting Jewish subjects.

“Visitors of the exhibit will be amazed at the breadth of the Jewish themes, from Jewish Wedding, to Kosher Food, to poignant pieces depicting Schindler’s List and his famous portrayal of his mother-in-law, Birdie,” said Ms. Chwatsky.

Born Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg in New York, Mr. Rivers was a jazz saxophonist before taking up painting. Nicknamed, the “Godfather of Pop Art,” he is one of the many well-known artists who lived and worked on the East End, creating many of his most well-known pieces in his Southampton home and studio.

Though he Americanized his name, his Jewish identity remained strong, say Ms. Chwatsky and Ms. Cantor. He injected the same sense of history and scholarship into his Jewish themed work as he did with his secular themed paintings. In the late 1990s he was invited to come to Temple Adas Israel to create a special piece for the occasion of the Temple’s 100th Anniversary. Over many visits, Mr. Rivers created a drawing of the synagogue’s late Rabbi, Dr. Paul Steinberg — a piece of art that has hung on the walls of the Gallery Space at the synagogue ever since.

Mr. Joel and Helen Harrison, the director of the Pollack Krasner house and author of a book on Mr. Rivers, plan to host lectures at the Temple during the exhibits run through September 6, according to the Temple. For more information, visit or call (631) 725-0904.