reviews

Allan Sekula, Performance Under Working Conditions, 1973, video, black-and-white, sound, 22 minutes. © The Estate of Allan Sekula.

Allan Sekula

Christopher Grimes Gallery

Allan Sekula, Performance Under Working Conditions, 1973, video, black-and-white, sound, 22 minutes. © The Estate of Allan Sekula.

For more than forty years, Allan Sekula worked intently to uncover the ways in which forces of production shape social relations—to reveal what Marx called “the contradictions of material life”—in a world structured by the increasingly globalized markets of advanced capitalism. Photography held a particular attraction for Sekula, whose eloquent writings on the medium’s history are as notable as his photo-based works. With characteristic clarity, Sekula outlined some of the appealing yet problematic features intrinsic to photography, including “its unavoidable social referentiality, its way of describing—albeit in enigmatic, misleading, reductive and often superficial terms—a world of social institutions, gestures, manners, relationships.” Photography, for Sekula, was not a means to an end but a social practice, one that would take him to port cities around the

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