Aperture 244 - Fall 2021


Aperture’s “Cosmologies” issue explores the origins, histories, and local universes that artists create for themselves.

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Issue Details

This fall, Aperture magazine presents an issue exploring the idea of cosmologies—the origins, histories, and local universes that artists create for themselves.

In an exclusive interview, Greg Tate speaks to Deana Lawson about how her monumental staged portraits trace cosmologies of the African diaspora. “What I’m doing integrates mythology, religion, empirical data, dreams,” says Lawson, whose work is the subject of major solo exhibitions this year at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

In an in-depth profile of Judith Joy Ross and her iconic portraiture, Rebecca Bengal shows how a constellation of strangers is brought together through Ross’s precise, empathic gaze. “Ross is guided by a rapt, intense, wholehearted belief in the individual,” Bengal writes.

A portfolio of Michael Schmidt’s acutely observed work from the 1970s and ’80s reveals the realms within realms of a once divided Berlin, while Feng Li’s surprising black-and-white snapshots zigzag between absurdist dramas in various Chinese cities. Ashley James distills the surreal visions of Awol Erizku’s still lifes and tableaux; Casey Gerald contributes a sweeping ode to Baldwin Lee’s stirring 1980s portraits of Black Southern subjects; and Pico Iyer meditates on Tom Sandberg’s grayscales marked by both absence and reverence.

Throughout “Cosmologies,” artists cast their attention on the great mysteries of both personal and shared lineages, tracking their locations in space, time, and history, and reminding us of the elegant enigmas that can be unraveled close to home.

Format: Paperback / softback
Number of pages: 144
Publication date: 2021-09-07
Measurements: 9.25 x 12 x 0.6 inches
ISBN: 9781597115056

Significant support of Aperture magazine is provided by The Kanakia Foundation and by Slobodan Randjelović and Jon Stryker. Further generous support is provided in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Aperture Foundation’s programs are made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Table Of Contents


Liz Johnson Artur, Tokyo: Art & Photography, Gillian Wearing, Mimi Cherono Ng’ok

Day Jobs
Kerry Manders on Catherine Opie’s industrious work ethic

Lou Stoppard on visions of nightlife, from Nairobi to Ibiza

Geoff Dyer on Fred Eaglesmith, Dayanita Singh, and the pleasures of rereading Middlemarch


Deana Lawson: The Conjurer
The great portraitist reimagines the world by revealing mystic truths
A Conversation with Greg Tate

Berlin Stories
How the divided German capital became Michael Schmidt’s life’s work
Gesine Borcherdt

Theo Eshetu: Infinite Screens
A prolific video artist considers identity and belonging
Emmanuel Iduma

The World of Judith Joy Ross
Through empathic portraits, individuals form a collective citizenry
Rebecca Bengal


Return of the Light
For Anne Hardy, the River Thames yields ethereal photograms
Lena Fritsch

Batia Suter reinvents scientific books as lyrical assemblages
Brian Sholis

Mystic Parallax
Awol Erizku’s surreal visions of Africa and its diaspora
Ashley James

In Colombia, Jim C. Nedd reflects on the visual codes of mythology
Daniel Berndt

Tom Sandberg’s meditations on absence
Pico Iyer

Cosmic Atlas
Tavares Strachan’s assemblages of colliding histories
Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Good Night
Feng Li’s absurdist dramas on the streets of Chinese cities
Xuan Juliana Wang

My Grandfather Turned into a Tiger
Between Laos and Minnesota, Pao Houa Her’s memories and dreams
Kong Pheng Pha

True North
Dionne Lee’s intricate collages portray the poetics of survival
Shiv Kotecha

Southern Journeys
In the 1980s, Baldwin Lee made stars of his Black subjects
Casey Gerald

Juan Brenner chronicles the glitter and gold of Guatemala’s youth
Suleman Sheikh Anaya


5 questions for Akwaeke Emezi

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