Grey Room

Allan Sekula’s Ship of Fools/
The Dockers’ Museum

Hilde Van Gelder

Allan Sekula. The Dockers’ Museum, 2010-2013. Dockworker Cup (Portugal), Burlap Bags of Unroasted Coffee (Santos). Ceramics, sackcloth, coffee beans. Installation view, La Criée, Rennes, France, Spring 2012. © The Estate of Allan Sekula; photo © Marc Domage, 2012. Collection M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium.


Van Gelder presents Sekula’s final work Ship of Fools/The Dockers’ Museum (2010–2013), a large–scale project that pairs Ship of Fools, thirty–three framed photographs and two slide projections of more than one hundred images made by the artist, with The Dockers’ Museum, a collection of more than one thousand graphic images, sculptures, paintings, photographs, postcards, and vernacular objects found by the artist. Linking these collected objects of “dead labor” with the figure of the dock worker and the crew and voyages of the Global Mariner, a retrofitted cargo ship carrying an agitprop exhibition on working conditions at sea, Sekula points to the sea as the constitutive, if often neglected, matrix of the contemporary economic and political order.