Christopher Grimes Gallery is pleased to present Allan Sekula’s Aerospace Folktales May 28 – July 9. A historical work that was first exhibited at the University of California at San Diego in 1973, Aerospace Folktales is made up of photographic prints, a soundtrack consisting of recorded conversations and a written commentary among large potted plants that are dispersed throughout the gallery.
Aerospace Folktales is an autobiographical piece told in a third person narrative that investigates the artist’s own class situation and familial circumstance in order to clarify his own political views. The work contains two focal interviews. One with the engineer, his father who was laid off from the aircraft manufacturer, Lockheed, and the other with his mother, the engineer’s wife. Their words reflect the frustrations that come with finding employment at middle age, the stigma society attaches to being without it, and the couple’s pontifications on technology and the future of the country in the midst of the Vietnam War.
Through a series of images Sekula documents the couple and the life of their family in a working class neighborhood in San Pedro, CA. He uses the strategy of the disassembled movie by combining voice, images and text that have been carefully edited and sequenced in order to link the…micro-sociological observations that are cast up for the camera or tape recorder…to a broader context and pattern of meaning. Sekula further states in the same interview with Benjamin Buchloh: This ‘disassembled movie’ would…function as a extended portrait, not of an autonomous individual, but of family members in relation to one another and to the structuring of the familial institution through ideology and socialization.
Sekula has recently exhibited at Vienna’s Generali Foundation which organized a comprehensive retrospective in 2003; The National Museum, Zadar, Croatia and the Harn Museum at the University of Florida, Gainsville. TENT Center for Visual Arts in Rotterdam, will be opening Black tide/Marea negra, the artist’s previous body of work, in May. Fish Story, his extended photographic project produced between 1987-1995, was on view in its entirety at Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany, 2002. Additionally, he has shown at the Whitney Biennial (1993); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Barbican Centre, London; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; and the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels.
Sekula's work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art; Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; MACBA, Barcelona; Vancouver Art Gallery; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece and the Thyssen-Bornesmisza Art Contemporary in Vienna, among others.