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At work with Allan Sekula

November 22, 2017 5:00 pm

Allan Sekula was an artist engaged in a lifelong investigation of our world, directly influenced by his experiences growing up amidst the shifting American economic landscape of the 1970s. he was itinerant geographically, but was also a traveler between different realms of knowledge. his recent exposure in his own country has reflected on the late artist’s extremely broad and varied body of work, that begun with his influential early publication photography against the grain, which has recently been republished. he articulated his explorations using different practical and conceptual tools; photography, writings, and film, but also the history of art, marxism, literature, history, and psychoanalysis. his command of these fields made him an extraordinary writer, theoretician, and teacher. the depth of his research and the diversity of his approaches perhaps undoubtedly contribute to the continued relevance of his observations, despite his untimely passing.

Beirut art center invites a panel of writers, curators, and critics, most of whom have personally worked with the artist, for a discussion centered on the relationship between the artist’s work and the ways his work has been exhibited, but also the specificity of his insights. the discussion will also deal with Sekula’s work processes, which often aim to reorder visual hierarchies and constitute an important effort to combine practices which are often considered as opposed: art criticism and visual art practice.

participants
Sabine Breitwieser
Jurgen Bock
Pascal Beausse
Heather M. O’Brien
moderated by Marie Muracciole

performance under working conditions
sabine breitwieser
drawing from her experience in working with Allan Sekula on performance under working conditions, an exhibition presenting a unique overview of the artist’s work in 2003. the exhibition, in tracing the entire span of his career, focused particular attention on an often underestimated aspect of Sekula’s œuvre: his interest in the theatrical, which acts as a counterbalance to the documentary side of his work.

Allan Sekula: from «titanic’s wake» to «the dockers’ museum»
jürgen bock
to introduce Allan Sekula’s modus operandi for developing exhibitions, jürgen bock will focus on the display of art as an essential part of the art itself. he will talk about two intense working experiences: the presentation of Sekula’s exhibition «titanic’s wake» in 2001 at the ccb project room in Lisbon and his close collaboration with the artist during the development of his exhibition «ship of fools» into «the dockers’ museum», which he curated between 2012 and 2014 for la criée in Rennes, lumiar cité in Lisbon and the Johann jacobs museum in Zurich.

an encounter with allan sekula
pascal beausse
pascal beausse interviewed allan sekula in 1998 for art presse, at the very beginning of his carreer. this encounter proved important for both artist and critic. beausse’s talk will focus on this encounter with artist allan sekula and how it influenced him and his work.

reflections on a pedagogical practice: Allan Sekula’s photographic classroom
heather m. O’Brien
to unpack the educational methodologies within Allan Sekula’s work, heather m. O’Brien will look at the influence Sekula’s teaching had on his image-based practice. over the course of his career, Sekula taught in the photography, cinema, and media departments at new york university, Ohio state university, and CalArts, where he was a professor from 1985 until 2013. his writing also intersected with his teachings, with texts such as a school is a factory, on the invention of photography meaning, and the body and the archive. what are the political strategies and possibilities within Sekula’s pedagogy? in our contemporary moment, flooded with fleeting images, what might we learn from Sekula’s in-depth interrogation of the photograph?