Christopher Grimes Gallery is pleased to present a new body of work by Allan Sekula entitled Black Tide/Marea negra. In December 2002, at the invitation of the Barcelona newspaper, La Vanguardia, Sekula traveled to Galicia in northwest Spain where, in November, a crippled tanker carrying more than 20 million gallons of oil had split in half, creating one of the worst environmental disasters in history. Sekula produced a sequence of documentary photographs, which are less conventionally dramatic and more meditative than typical photojournalism. His pictures focus on the beleaguered coastal topography, the physical properties of the invading oil, and the Sisyphean labors of the volunteers who battle the black tide.
The work that resulted is subtitled Fragments for an Opera. The artist’s accompanying text sketches out an imaginary "operatic" restaging of the event 30 years in the future. With this allegorical strategy, the work takes on a pressing political theme: the profound gaps between political elites -- in this case the right-wing Spanish ruling party -- and the chorus of volunteers and "people of the sea," who actually confronted the disaster.
This May, Vienna’s Generali Foundation will open a comprehensive retrospective of work by Sekula that will also include the artist's early performance-based pieces, dating back to 1970. Fish Story, his extended photographic project produced between 1987-1995, was most recently on view in its entirety at Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany, 2002. Additionally, Sekula has exhibited in the Whitney Biennial (1993), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Barbican Centre, London; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; and the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels.
Sekula's work is included in the collections of the 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; and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece.