Allan Sekula / Subject to Capital

Selected by Paige Laino

Toward the end of last week’s meeting, we talked about Helene Cixious' collaboration with Roni Horn to translate a Clarice Lispector text to use in one of Horn’s installations. From there we discussed text art, and because we had been talking about Baseera’s group show at Abrons (in her much-lamented absence), I think I steered the discussion toward Allan Sekula.

For this meeting, I would like us to read the first section of Allan Sekula’s The Body and The Archive, which, to me, is a really concise history of photography as not an artistic medium, but a socially repressive tool that served/serves to construct a public consciousness of “criminality.” I felt that this text could add depth to our discussions about Cameron Rowland and bell hooks. For the meeting, please come prepared with a part that resonated with you, or didn’t, for discussion. 


  • Sekula, Allan. "The Body and the Archive." October 39 (1986): part I, pages 3-16.


  • Baseera’s show! (also featuring a bunch of great people, more info hereSubject to Capital, Abrons Art Center, 466 Grand Street, New York, NY, March 3 – April 17
  • Sekula, Allan. "Reading An Archive: Photography Between Labour and Capitalism." The Photography Reader. London: Routledge, 2003. Originally written 1983. First five pages only (443-447)

Super optional:

  • Search your name, in quotes, in Google image search. Take a screen shot and send it to me.