June 6th, 2019
Aperture Celebrates MUSE at its 2019 Gala
On June 3, at its annual fundraising Gala, Aperture Foundation celebrated MUSE, the ideas and people that inspire us in photography, and honorees The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Mickalene Thomas, and Racquel Chevremont. The event was generously sponsored by Barrett Barrera Projects, Christie’s, Foto Care, and Ingram Content Group.
Sondra Gilman Gonzalez-Falla and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Elizabeth Ann Kahane, Cathy M. Kaplan, and Tilda Swinton were this year’s Gala cohosts. Swinton, who greeted guests in an introductory video, thanked the honorees, and Aperture. “Vivre Aperture forever,” she stated. “May we all continue to know what an oasis of sanity and culture it is.”
Robert Mapplethorpe is one of photography’s great muses, whose legacy continues to echo through the art of photography, and in the work of many artists. Under the expert guidance of Mapplethorpe’s friend Michael Stout, and Eric Johnson, the foundation has supported AIDS and HIV medical research and so many arts initiatives across the worlds of art and photography. In a special tribute, Cathy M. Kaplan recognized the work of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, calling Mapplethorpe “a singular photographer who really changed the shape of what photography can do and mean.”
Aperture honored Mickalene Thomas for her brilliant use of the photographic image to assert new definitions of beauty and black female identity, celebrity, and sexuality, and Racquel Chevremont, Thomas’s partner, muse, and collaborator on Deux Femmes Noir, a platform for supporting new opportunities for artists of color to achieve greater prominence in the art world.
Zachary Tye Richardson and Shiona Turini expressed heartfelt thanks to Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont for their achievements. “These women walk the earth with a divine purpose, challenging the norm, assaulting the commonplace, and empowering black women in these forms,” Turini said. “Their work is an extension of their pioneering souls. Collectively, their incredible cultural impact has penetrated not only our thoughts and convictions, but a global consciousness as well.”
Robbie Gordy, of Christie’s, presided over a live auction, featuring works by Thierry Cohen, Ethan James Green, Seydou Keïta, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Mapplethorpe, Vik Muniz, Erwin Olaf, Matthew Pillsbury, Matthew Porter, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Paul Strand, and Mickalene Thomas in collaboration with DIOR.
Following the auction, The Photo Party guests joined the celebration and everyone enjoyed a performance by Honey + Vinyl featuring Rhonda Ross, rhythms by Alima Lee, glitter applications by Fluide, and artisanal mezcal cocktails by Gem & Bolt. In attendance were Nina Chanel Abney, Dara Allen, Susan Barrett of Barrett Barrera Projects, David Breslin, Michael Carl, Stuart Cooper and Rebecca Besson, Gina Gershon, Elaine Goldman, Sondra Gilman Gonzalez-Falla and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Susan Gutfreund, Darius Himes of Christie’s, Jeffrey Hirsch of Foto Care, Sheree Hovsepian, Mariane Ibrahim, Matthew Pillsbury, Phyllis Posnick, Lisa Rosenblum, Antwaun Sargent, Drew Sawyer, Thomas Schiff and Mary Ellen Goeke, Ben Sinclair, Melissa Schiff Soros, Elizabeth Stribling, Stefano Tonchi, Lina Iris Viktor, and Shen Wei.
The 2019 Aperture Gala and Auction was generously supported by:
Judy and Leonard Lauder
Susan Barrett, Barrett Barrera Projects, Elizabeth* and William Kahane, Cathy M. Kaplan* and Renwick D. Martin, Lisa Rosenblum,* Thomas R. Schiff*
Joe Baio and Anne Griffin, Peter Barbur* and Tim Doody, Maria Love Brisbane, Audry X. Casusol, Allan Chapin* and Anna Nilsson, Sb Cooper* and R. L. Besson, Richard Edwards and Kevin Ramnaraine, Fine Art Frameworks, Foto-Care Ltd., Gladstone Gallery, Elaine Goldman* and John Benis, Sondra Gilman Gonzalez-Falla and Celso Gonzalez-Falla,* Agnes Gund, Hermès of Paris, Darius Himes, Christie’s; Michael Hoeh,* Elizabeth R. Kabler, Hemant Kanakia* and Sonalde Desai, Darlene Kaplan and Steve Zuckerman, LaVon Kellner, Christopher and Alida Latham, Bonnie Lautenberg, Raymond Learsy, Mark and Elizabeth Levine, Marina and Andrew* Lewin, Anne Stark Locher* and Kurt Locher, Nion McEvoy,* Sarah McNear* and Ian Wardropper, Jessica Nagle* and Roland Hartley-Urquhart, Philip C. Ollila, Ingram Content Group; Missy* and Jim O’Shaughnessy, Melissa Schiff Soros, Severn Taylor* and Scott Switzer, Willard Taylor* and Virginia Davies, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, Casey and Lauren Weyand, Yancey Richardson Gallery