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Aperture Fall 2018

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Founded in 1952, Aperture is an essential guide to the world of contemporary photography that combines the finest writing with inspiring photographic portfolios. Each issue examines one theme explored in “Words,” focused on the best writing surrounding contemporary photography, and “Pictures,” featuring immersive portfolios and artist projects.

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United States
Aperture Foundation
4 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
exhibitions to see

Laurie Simmons For the past forty years, Laurie Simmons has provocatively explored notions of gender roles, identity, and self-image through beguiling photographs of dolls, giant props, and cosplayers portrayed in fictionalized settings. “Laurie’s images acknowledge something we all do to a certain degree—dramatize portions of our actual lives through a combination of memory, nostalgia, and romanticizing of the past,” says Andrea Karnes, curator of Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, a major survey of Simmons’s photographs, films, and sculptures. Her work animates deep-set psychological tensions, leading the viewer to question how we envision desire and the ways we choose to see and project ourselves. Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, October 14, 2018–January 27, 2019 Shoji Ueda Under the influence…

3 min.
katrien de blauwer

Flaubert said that we only ever perceive the world in disparate fragments. Katrien De Blauwer’s work seems to take the French writer at his word. While studying fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp over the course of the 1990s, this Belgian artist made the collage technique her own. Patiently cutting and assembling images found in magazines from the 1920s to the 1960s, she recomposes scenes imbued with a fragmented intimacy. In them, bits of bodies, buildings, faces, and landscapes come together. Faced with these silent rebuses, our eyes identify the different fragments, pick out the cuts, reconnect possible links, and search out clues. The influence of cinema— from Italian neorealism to the films of Alain Resnais, Jean-Luc Godard, and, of course, Alfred Hitchcock—is palpable, including in the titles…

2 min.
rediscovered books and writings

“I’m all for amusing, crazy goings-on,” fashion editor Diana Vreeland noted one night, in December 1975, at the launch of Deborah Turbeville’s fictitious fashion magazine Maquillage, “but essentially fashion is a totally serious business and it always has been.” Produced in a limited edition of one thousand copies, Maquillage was first shown when the New York bookstore Rizzoli held the exhibition Fashion as Fantasy, which presented fifty-two spreads of Turbeville’s images on two large boards, as if they were on the wall of an art department. At the Fashion as Fantasy opening, Andy Warhol stood at the entrance next to a Charles James ribbon dress; Paloma Picasso screened a fifteen-minute film about herself; and Rudi Gernreich attended with two models wearing bicycle handlebars on their shoulders, reflectors across their chests, and…

4 min.

For Susan Meiselas, the story always comes first. An influential documentarian, Meiselas came to photo-world prominence with the publication of Carnival Strippers, in 1976, and Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979, in 1981. She insists on context: her photographs are often prefaced by an explanation of the political situation as told by her subjects and, when possible, are accompanied by audio or even augmented-reality interviews. Her most recent series, A Room of Their Own (2015–16), is a collaboration with victims of domestic violence in the U.K. Meiselas writes that “the stories they had hidden within themselves were no longer invisible”—a manifesto of her life’s work. Richard Rogers, Quarry, 1970 This was the first film I saw by Dick Rogers, the man who became my partner for thirty years. Perhaps I was drawn to the…

3 min.
los angeles

“LA is my big studio,” says Anthony Hernandez. “One day I’m in one corner, the next in the middle. It’s always interesting.” In this sprawling city, not known for a tradition of sidewalk-wandering image makers, Hernandez might be considered the resident street photographer of Los Angeles. For decades, he has surveyed the city’s streetscapes, including its growing crisis of homelessness, and the connections between social position and mobility. In his new series, Hernandez returns to an old subject, bus stops, but now with a formal approach that allows him to see the city in an altered way. For John Divola, too, LA acts as a studio, if in a more literal sense. His projects from the 1970s are improvisations in found, disused buildings. In this issue, Divola and Mark Ruwedel discuss…

15 min.
city of images

James Welling: Los Angeles, Twice Lived I twice lived in Los Angeles: from 1971 to 1978, when I was a student at CalArts, and from 1995 to 2016, when I ran the Photography Area of the Department of Art at UCLA. The first class I took at CalArts was a video workshop taught by performance and video artist Wolfgang Stoerchle. Consequently, some of my early works, and those of my classmates, were video art as documentation. In addition to Stoerchle, John Baldessari was a significant figure at CalArts. Baldessari’s work at this time involved documenting activities, from throwing colorful sheets of paper out windows to pointing at green beans. From my perspective, documents of “performances” produced the best work in Los Angeles in the 1970s. The template for using the camera…