Allan Sekula (born Erie, Pennsylvania, 1951) is an American artist, of Polish descent, photographer, writer, filmmaker,theorist and critic based at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, California. His work frequently focuses on large economic systems, or "the imaginary and material geographies of the advanced capitalist world."
Born in 1951 in Eerie, Pennsylvania, Sekula began making art in the early 1970s, staging performances building installations, and producing photo series. Sekula practices what he calls "critical realism", informed by Marxist thought, documentary photography, and conceptual art.
With Aereospace Folktales (1973), he began mixing his photographic series with long texts, a form for which he would be particularly well-known. Fish Story (1995) explores the world maritime and forms the basis for much of The Forgotten Space.
Sekula's principal medium is photography, which he employs to create exhibitions, books, and films. His secondary medium is the written word, employing essays and other critical texts in concert with images to create a multi-level critique of contemporary late capitalism. His works make critical contributions on questions of social reality and globalization, and focus on what he describes as "the imaginary and material geographies of the advanced capitalist world".
Sekula is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Getty Research Institute, the Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), and the Atelier Calder.
Sekula was named a 2007 USA Broad Fellow and granted $50,000 by United States Artists.
Sekula is on the faculty of the Program in Photography and Media at the California Institute of the Arts.
- 2013: The Dockers' Museum, Lumiar Cité (Lisbon, Portugal)
- 2010: Polonia and Other Fables, Ludwig Museum (Budapest, Hungary)
- 2009: Polonia and Other Fables, Zachęta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw, Poland)
- 2009:Polonia and Other Fables, The Renaissance Society (Chicago)
- 2005: Aerospace Folktales, Christopher Grimes Gallery
- 2005: Shipwreck and Workers, STUK Kunstcentrum (Leuven, Belgium)
- 2005: Shipwreck and Workers, museum in progress (Vienna, Austria)
- 2004: Titanic’s Wake, Harn Museum (Gainesville, Florida)
- 2004: Prayer for the Americans, Galerie Michel Rein (Paris, France)
- 2003: Black Tide/Marea negra, Christopher Grimes Gallery
- 2003: Allan Sekula, Performance under Working Conditions, Generali Foundation (Vienna)
- 2002: Irrational Exuberance, Christopher Grimes Gallery
- 2002: Waiting for Tear Gas (white globe to black), Camera Austria (Graz, Austria)
- 2002: Documenta 11, Kassel
- 2001: Galerie Michel Rein
- 2001: Dead Letter Office, CEPA Gallery (Buffalo, New York)
- 2000: Titanic's Wake, Christopher Grimes Gallery
- 2000: Titanic's Wake, Centre de Creation Contemporaine (Tours, France)
- 1999: Fish Story, Henry Art Gallery (Seattle)
- 1998: Palais des Beaux Arts (Brussels, Belgium)
- 1998: Musée des Beaux Arts et de la Dentelle (Calais, France), Galerie Michel Rein
- 1996: Museum Boymans van Beuningen (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
- 1996: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam)
- 1993: University Art Museum (Berkeley, California)
- Performance under Working Conditions (2003)
- Titanic's Wake (2003)
- Seemannsgarn (2002)
- Fish Story (1995)
- Photography against the Grain: Essays and Photo Works 1973–1983 (1984)
- The Forgotten Space (2010)
- A Short Film for Laos (2006)
- Allan Sekula represented by Galerie Michel Rein, Paris
- Allan Sekula represented by Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, California
- Interview with Allan Sekula about the relationship between art and photography, about artistic activism, the role of the artist in the public sphere and "Waiting for Tear Gas" (2011).