‘We Are Family’: Aperture Fetes Agnes and Catherine Gund, Deborah Willis and Hank Willis Thomas, Catherine Opie at Fall Gala

‘We Are Family’: Aperture Fetes Agnes and Catherine Gund, Deborah Willis and Hank Willis Thomas, Catherine Opie at Fall Gala

Maximilíano Durón for MutualArt - 5 Novembre 2018

Last week, during the Aperture Foundation’s fall gala at a cavernous space in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, Marilyn Minter turned to Catherine Opie while the two artists stood onstage together, and said, “I wish you would adopt me.” Opie, not missing a beat, deadpanned back, “Can I swaddle you, then?”

As it happened, the evening’s theme was “Family,” and its honorees embodied that word in its many meanings: philanthropist and collector Agnes Gund and her daughter, documentarian Catherine Gund; scholar, curator, and artist Dr. Deborah Willis and her son, the photographer Hank Willis Thomas; and Opie, who’s been bringing visibility to queer families through her work for a few decades now.

But before any of them took to the stage, gala co-chair Sir Elton John delivered a message via video, stressing that photography—Aperture’s cause—has an “important role in creating a sense of belonging in our families, our communities, and our world.”

Chris Boot, the foundation’s director, echoed Sir Elton’s thought. “The idea of family,” he said, “as a singular source of love and strength in our lives, and in our work and the idea of photography, which we all use to articulate our connections to family, can help expand our vision of family and create visibility and respect for the new families that we make.”

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