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Analogue Events: Signs of Life, Peter Sekaer at the ICP, New York

The International Centre of Photography is currently hosting the first major museum exhibition devoted to Danish documentary photographer Peter Sekaer (1901–1950). Sekaer was one of the key contributors to U.S. government photographic projects during the Great Depression.

Peter Sekaer, Phrenologist’s Window, New Orleans, 1936. © Peter Sekaer Estate. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, purchased with funds from Robert Yellowlees via www.icp.org

“While Peter Sekaer is not a household name, his photographs are among the finest produced in the Depression era in the United States. He’s a hidden gem,” said Julian Cox, former curator of photography at the High Museum of Art. “Sekaer often made images full of energy and humor despite the bleak circumstances of his time.

Peter Sekaer, Salvation Army Musicians, Cleveland, Ohio, ca. 1936. © Peter Sekaer Estate. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, purchased with funds from Robert Yellowlees via www.icp.org
Peter Sekaer, Navajos in front of sign for Tuba Trading Post, n.d. © Peter Sekaer Estate. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, purchased with funds from Robert Yellowlees via www.icp.org

The exhibition, consisting of about 80 vintage gelatin silver prints made from 1935 through 1945, documents the effects of the Great Depression in several American cities. Many of the images were made while Sekaer was working as a photographer for government agencies such as the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) and the United States Housing Authority (USHA). He recorded existing conditions seriously, and tried to balance his employer’s requirements with his own high aesthetic standards and style.

Peter Sekaer, Irish Channel, Future Site of St. Thomas Housing Project, St. Thomas and Felicity Streets, New Orleans, ca. 1936–38. © Peter Sekaer Estate. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, purchased with funds from Robert Yellowlees via www.icp.org
Peter Sekaer, Iron Work, New Orleans, ca. 1936. © Peter Sekaer Estate. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, purchased with funds from Robert Yellowlees via www.icp.org

Signs of Life: Photographs by Peter Sekaer, organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta is on view at The International Center of Photography (ICP), 1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street New York NY until January 8th, 2012.

For further info, you may visit icp.org.

written by webo29

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