Hiroshi Sugimoto | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Hiroshi Sugimoto

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You can't see Hiroshi Sugimoto's 30 black-and-white studies of architectural interiors and exteriors, most from the 20th century, when you stand on the threshold of the galleries where they're displayed, just an austere grid of gray monoliths on a gray concrete floor. But once inside the shadow-creased rooms, you can follow the track lights trained on the far sides of the monoliths to his astonishing five-foot-wide, six-foot-tall black-and-white photos, whose subjects range from the World Trade Center to the Eiffel Tower to Marina City to the Museum of Contemporary Art. In designing the layout of the exhibit, Sugimoto clearly wanted us to think more deeply about photos and architecture. He deliberately kept his pictures out of focus, thwarting our expectation of exact detail as he evokes the late-19th-century school of pictorialism. By obscuring surface detail, he's not misrepresenting his subject--he's clarifying the ideal forms compromised during construction and later by aging. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, through June 2. Hours are 10 to 8 Tuesday, 10 to 5 Wednesday through Sunday; 312-280-2660

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