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Dear Bill Gates

Dear Bill Gates, 1999 - Allan Sekula

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Dear Bill Gates, 1999

Allan Sekula

Print, Photograph, Mixed Media
approx 320 x 69 cm / 0 x 27.17 inch
Edition of 50 copies, unsigned and not numbered

  • Medium: Photograph, dye destruction print and ink on paper
  • This work consists of 3 photographs, each measuring 69 x 99 cm, and letter measuring 29,7 x 20,1 cm
  • This work is unframed
  • Ships in 5 to 10 business days from Belgium

about this work

While Sekula's primary medium was photography, his work had no small relevance to questions that surround art and technology. Among these works is his 1999 work Dear Bill Gates. The work involved a photographed action in which the artist swam as close as he could to the Microsoft founder's house, and a letter he wrote to Bill Gates. The original work is part of the collection of SF MoMA. This edition is an exact replica and exists of three large photographs and an accompanying letter that reads:

November 30, 1999

Dear Bill Gates,

I swam past your dream house the other day, but didn't stop to knock. Frankly, your underwater sensors had me worried. I would have liked to take a look at Winslow Homer's Lost on the Grand Banks. It's a great painting, but, speaking as a friend and fellow citizen, at $30 million you paid too much.

HIGHEST PRICE EVER PAID FOR AN AMERICAN PAINTING!!!

So why are you so interested in a picture of two poor lost dory fishermen, momentarily high on a swell, peering into a wall of fog? They are about as high as they're ever going to be, unless the sea gets uglier. They are going to die, you know, and it won't be a pretty death.

And as for you, Bill, when you're on the Net, are you lost? Or found ?

And the rest of us—lost or found—are we on it, or in it?

Your friend

about Allan Sekula

°1951, Pennsylvania (US) – died in 2013, Los Angeles (US)

Allan Sekula was an American photographer, writer, critic and, later in life, a filmmaker. Since the early 1970s his work bridged the gap between conceptual art and documentary practices, focusing on economic and social themes ranging from family life, work and unemployment, to schooling and the military industrial complex. All through his photographic oeuvre, often in conjunction with historical and critical texts, Sekula investigated the politics of globalization and capitalism and the consequences of the economic changes. While calling many of the conventions of documentary into question, he continued to see photography as a social practice, answerable to the world and its problems. He developed a visual language, which describes peo¬ple both in their individuality and in a more human condition.

His work has been featured in solo shows, such as at MuHKA, Antwerp; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; The Renaissance Society, Chicago; Kunsthaus Graz, Austria; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
Select group exhibitions include Centre Pompidou, Paris; MACBA, Barcelona; Tate Modern, London; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Leal Rios Foundation, Lisbon; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome; and biennials in Venice, Sao Paolo, Taipei, Whitney and Documenta, Kassel.

His work is in the collections of such institutions as Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museo de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Tate, London; Museum Ludwig, Budapest; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, NY; San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among others.

Allan Sekula is represented by the following galleries:
click through to discover more of his work and practice.

Michel Rein, Brussels / Paris

Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

Learn more about this artist