new-york

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Gagosian Gallery

Sometimes, when looking at solemn, serious works of art, particularly religious art, I have the giggle reaction of a teenager in church: I wonder, Does this guy ever go to the mall? What are his feelings on chocolate? It helps to get over this hump if I can mentally substitute art for religion—if the artist seems to have invested in artmaking the concentration that a Christian might spend on prayer or a Buddhist on meditation, a care that rewards looking even without shared belief. Hiroshi Sugimoto is one such artist. The quality of his attention to the subjects of his photographs—most famously natural-history-museum dioramas, cinema screens, and seascapes—is long and slow, literally so in that his camera exposures can last a couple of hours. The resulting images have a kind of calm intensity, a sense of acute, precise, fine-grained photographic detail yet simultaneously of something

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