Renowned local artist, writer, theorist, critic and professor Allan Sekula passed away on Saturday, Aug. 10 after two years of battling advanced gastric-esophageal cancer. He was 62.
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A Photography and Media professor at the California Institute of the Arts, Sekula has his photography featured in galleries around the world, including Seattle, Stockholm, London, Munich and Brussels.
Much of Sekula’s work is influenced by his childhood in San Pedro, the Los Angeles port, “where he grew to love the sea and the rich culture, both social and maritime, of the harbor,” according to a CalArts press release.
Themes explored in his photographs often include maritime trade and the interconnectedness of port cities. Indeed, all of his work focuses on everyday life and those things that keep our modern world moving.
Thomas Lawson, Dean of the CalArts School of Art, described Sekula as an honest artist who “laid bare the ugliness of exploitation, but showed us the beauty of the ordinary; of ordinary, working people in ordinary, unremarkable places doing ordinary, everyday things.”
Examples of his work include the documentary “The Forgotten Space,” made with Noel Burch and based on his “Fish Story” photo collection. The film documents the global supply chain, following merchandise through factories and then onto trains, trucks and immense ocean barges.
“His works make critical contributions on questions of social reality and globalization,” according to the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies program.
Sekula himself said that his work captured “the imaginary and material geographies of the advanced capitalist world.”
Sekula received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, including fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Getty Research Institute, the Deutsche Akademischer Austausdienst and the Atelier Calder. He was also named a 2007 USA Broad Fellow and granted $50,000 by United States Artists.
In 2012 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the College Art Association.
The Association described him as an artist who devoted his life “to writing, photography, installation and film. While his multidisciplinary approach to problems of representation and politics has earned him accolades as an artist, his writings have helped students, scholars and the public to think critically about interventions to the political and social realities of our world.”
Sekula is survived by his mother Evelyn and his siblings Stefan, Brian, Victoria and Michelle, along with his wife Sally Stein. A memorial service will be organized by CalArts, where contributions may be made to the Allan Sekula Social Documentary Fund.
To learn more about Allan Sekula’s life and work and for a complete list of his works, click here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News