Exploring Allan Sekula’s Fish Story
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Exploring Allan Sekula’s Fish Story

A large boat carrying many shipping containers sails across a large, blue ocean.
Allan Sekula, Chapter Three: "Middle Passage" from Fish Story (#34), 1988-1995. Courtesy the artist.

Join panelists for a thought-provoking conversation exploring the powerful narratives and sociopolitical implications embedded within Allan Sekula’s Fish Story. Featured panelists: Makeda Best, deputy director of Curatorial Affairs at the Oakland Museum of California; Ina Steiner, studio manager of Allan Sekula; Benjamin J. Young, clinical assistant professor of Art History and Museum Studies in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University; and Lyle Ashton Harris, artist and professor of Art and Art Education at New York University.

Part of Twin Cities Art Week.

Curator, writer, and historian of photography Makeda Best is the deputy director of Curatorial Affairs at the Oakland Museum of California. Formerly a curator at the Harvard Art Museums, her exhibitions included Time is Now: Photography and Social Change in James Baldwin’s America and Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography Since 1970. She co-curated the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial exhibition On the Line – Documents of Risk and Faith. Best has contributed to multiple exhibition catalogues, journals, and scholarly publications, most recently to Betye Saar: Heart of a Wanderer and Ruth Asawa: All is Possible. She is the author of Elevate the Masses: Alexander Gardner, Photography, and Democracy in Nineteenth-Century America. She holds an MFA from CalArts and a PhD from Harvard University.

Lyle Ashton Harris (US, b. 1965) has cultivated a diverse artistic practice, ranging from photography and collage to video installation and performance art, examining the impact of race, gender, and desire on the contemporary social and cultural dynamic globally through intersections of the personal and the political. Harris has been widely exhibited internationally, and a solo exhibition spanning three decades is currently being presented by the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University (Waltham, Massachusetts), then traveling to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) and the Queens Museum (New York) in 2023-24. His work is now on view in group exhibitions at the Tate Modern, London and the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich. Harris’s work is held in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Tate Modern, London; among many others. Harris’s most recent photography monograph was published by Aperture and an exhibition catalogue on his Ektachrome Archive series has been published by ICA Miami in 2023. He is represented by LGDR (New York) and David Castillo (Miami).

Berlin-based photographer Ina Steiner has concentrated on architecture, politics, and the changing roles of women in Germany and the United States. She studied with Allan Sekula at CalArts, where she earned her MFA (2003). In the last year of Sekula’s life, Steiner returned to Los Angeles to oversee the Sekula Studio. As studio manager since 2013, she has overseen the inventory of his estate and helped arrange a number of key posthumous exhibitions and publications, including at KU Leuven and at M HKA in Antwerp. She also co-edited the posthumous Sekula volume Art Isn’t Fair (MACK, 2020). Steiner is part of the University of Bergen’s faculty of fine art.

Benjamin J. Young is clinical assistant professor of Art History and Museum Studies in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. His current book project is a monograph on Allan Sekula, and previous writings on Sekula have appeared in the publications The Uses of Photography: Art, Politics, and the Reinvention of a Medium (University of California Press, 2016), Sensible Politics: The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Politics (Princeton University Press, 2012), and “Allan Sekula and the Traffic in Photographs,” a special issue of Grey Room (2014), which he co-edited with Marie Muracciole. Other publications include his essays “Photography at the Factory Gates,” in LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Last Cruze (Renaissance Society, 2019) and “‘Decolonize This Place’: Realism and Humanism in Photography of Israel-Palestine,” in “Disassembled” Images: Allan Sekula and Contemporary Art (Leuven University Press, 2019).

The artist talk will have ASL interpretation.

For information about accessibility or to request additional accommodations for this program, call 612-375-7564 or email access@walkerart.org.

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