San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

photo: John Hazeltine

San Francisco, CA



Hiroshi Sugimoto: The Architecture Series


Known for his long-exposure photographic series of empty movie theaters and drive-ins, seascapes, museum dioramas and waxworks, Hiroshi Sugimoto recently has turned his camera on icons of 20th-century architecture from around the world. The deliberately blurred and seemingly timeless photographs depict structures as diverse as the Empire State Building by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, Le Corbusier's Chapel de Notre Dame du Haut and the Church of Light in Osaka by Tadao Ando. (left: World Trade Center)

Opening November 10, 2000, and running through March 4, 2001, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Hiroshi Sugimoto: The Architecture Series features 15 works from this series, including a recent SFMOMA acquisition, a photographic triptych of the 1922 Schindler House by Rudolf M. Schindler.

"Sugimoto traveled around the world to photograph landmarks of modern architecture--not to document them, but to bring out their solidity, their evocative capacity and their enigmatic presence," notes Aaron Betsky, SFMOMA curator of architecture, design and digital projects, who organized the exhibition. Among the other buildings represented are Philippe Starck's Asahi Breweries, the Fujisawa Municipal Gymnasium by Fumihiko Maki, the United Nations Building by Wallace Harrison et. al., William van Alen's Chrysler Building, the Santelia Monument Como by Giuseppi Terragni, Minoru Yamasaki's World Trade Center, the Seagram Building by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, E.U.R. San Pietro e Paolo by Marcello Piacentini and Antonio Gaudi's Casa Batlló II. Sugimoto's architectural "portraits" were originally commissioned in 1997 by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, for the exhibition At the End of the Century: One Hundred Years of Architecture, but the photographer has continued to add to the series. Two of his more recent works will be included in this exhibition.

Born in Tokyo in 1948, Hiroshi Sugimoto studied photography at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, receiving a B.F.A. in 1972. He moved to New York, where he currently resides, in 1974. He has exhibited widely over the last 20 years, including solo exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; La Caixa, Madrid; the Bielefeld Museum, Germany; the Kitakyushu Project Gallery, Japan; the Moderna Museet, Sweden; and the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. (left: Chapel de Notre Dame du Haut)


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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/23/11

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