The Getty Research Institute Presents the Exhibition
Port and Corridor: Working Sites in Los Angeles - Photographs by Robbert Flick and Allan Sekula
August 15-October 18, 1998
June 1, 1998
In an exhibition of photographs opening at the Getty Center on August 15, two Los Angeles-based artists, Robbert Flick and Allan Sekula, explore the central industrial corridor of southeast L.A. extending along Alameda Street from downtown to the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Both artists recently completed a year as Getty Scholars in the Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, in whose Exhibition Gallery their work will be shown.
"Port and Corridor: Working Sites in Los Angeles - Photographs by Robbert Flick and Allan Sekula" brings attention to an often neglected part of the city and invites a close reading. Approaching the complex subject of industrial L.A., both Flick and Sekula have eschewed the traditional practice of single-image photography in favor of pairs, triptychs, or extended sequences of images.
According to curator Moira Kenney, project associate for Local and Comparative Research, "The Alameda Corridor, a 30-mile stretch of pot-holed streets, crumbling rail yards, and abandoned factories, bears witness to processes of deindustrialization that have shaped labor and community life over the past 20 years. The landscape, however, is in a constant state of transformation, from the development downtown to the expansion of the Port."
Photographer and media artist Robbert Flick, professor in the School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California, shoots streetscapes using a car-mounted digital video camera. Along Alameda Street Looking East, from Chinatown to San Pedro, Flick's largest piece, is comprised of five 40- by 48-inch panels containing 400 color frames each - a total of 2,000 frames printed sequentially in run-on horizontal bands. Each individual frame was painstakingly edited from an hour-long videotape documenting the artist's drive along Alameda Street, an original pool of some 20,000 frames. That video, also included in the exhibition (on CD-ROM), reinforces the sense of spatial and temporal compression imparted by the photographic panels. The viewer experiences Alameda Street from beginning to end - its factories and billboards, big-rig trucks and railroad cars, oil tanks and overpasses. Though desolate at times, the landscape as presented by Flick is richly detailed, anything but featureless.
The Alameda Street piece and other works in the show are an extension of Flick's larger ongoing project, the creation of a kind of enormous quilt of digital photomontages documenting L.A.'s thoroughfares and neighborhoods. Born in Holland, Flick has been photographing the city for nearly two decades. His publications include Robbert Flick: Sequential Views, 1980-1986.
Color photographs by artist and scholar Allan Sekula, professor at California Institute of the Arts, document the expansion of the Los Angeles harbor, already the largest in the Americas. Made in 1997, Sekula's photographs of dock workers and cargo container ships at San Pedro Harbor challenge the idea of modern ports as impersonal, largely depopulated spaces of visual uniformity. Like Fish Story, his extended project on industrial maritime space, this work conveys instead something of the great density and humanity of that space. The juxtaposition of images-in pairs or triptychs-is constructed by the artist as he shoots: Frames are presented in the sequence in which they were shot, sometimes only seconds apart, sometimes much longer. Accompanying the photographs are texts by Sekula commenting on the social impact of the emerging transnational economy.
Born in Pennsylvania, Sekula grew up in Southern California and is well known for his theoretical writing on photography. His books include Photography Against the Grain: Essays and Photo Works 1973-1983 and Fish Story, and the forthcoming Dismal Science: Photoworks 1972-1995.
"Port and Corridor" continues through October 18, 1998 in the Getty Research Institute Exhibition Gallery.
# # #
The Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities is an advanced research institution dedicated to the production and support of innovative scholarship in the arts and the humanities. It transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries and, through its programs and collections, provides a conducive setting for scholarly research and debate. Integral to its interdisciplinary approach is the concept that visual arts and artifacts should not be studied in isolation, but assessed within the broad historical and cultural contexts in which they were created.
In 1996-97, the Research Institute brought together 13 artists, writers, architects, and scholars for nine-month residencies investigating Perspectives on Los Angeles: Narratives, Images, History. This year's research theme is Representing the Passions.
For more information on the Getty Research Institute, go to: http://www.getty.edu/research
For further press information, please contact
Sylvia Sukop, Getty Trust Public Affairs, at (310) 440-6474
# # #
About the Getty:
The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.
Sign up for e-Getty at www.getty.edu/subscribe to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit our event calendar for a complete calendar of public programs.