At the n+1 website, Harris Feinsod reviews Allan Sekula's posthumous book Ship of Fools / The Dockers’ Museum, and also offers a heartfelt homage to the unique and under-discussed artist. Feinsod suggests that we think of Sekula's oeuvre as not just a collected of images and texts, but rather as a sustained and multifaceted inquiry into social and economic forms that are fundamental to the way our world works, yet deliberately hidden from view. Here's an excerpt from the piece:
Lately, I’ve been wondering: Where is Sekula when you need him? I’ve missed Sekula as I’ve followed the Mediterranean refugee crisis. Or when I’ve read about Wang Jing Corporation’s quixotic, no-bid Nicaragua Canal project, or the shoddy construction endangering the Panama Canal’s effort to accommodate Post-Panamax ships. Or when I watched J.C. Chandor’s Robert Redford vehicle All Is Lost, which allegorized the recession-era economy as a yachting accident. Or when I’ve seen fashion brands, prestige television dramas, and corporate coffee chains repurposing shipping containers as sales floors, plot points, and drive-through windows. Or when I’ve followed the small cry of protest mounted by preservationists who aren’t eager to see a gleaming Howard Hughes Corporation condominium complex rise up in Manhattan’s historic South Street Seaport. Sekula called Los Angeles “the graveyard of documentary,” but this observation extends to the trackless sea. When it came to spaces where global capital most effectively concealed its despoliation of people and environments, Sekula was his generation’s Walker Evans and its Louis Adamic. The left could stand to think with him for a long time to come.
Image of Allan Sekula via mubi.com.