Hiroshi Sugimoto: History of History

September 23, 2005
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Gallery past event

"A very personal, whimsical exhibition by this well-known Japanese photographer that incorporates his own work with artifacts that he has collected over the years… as packed with goodies as the princely assemblages of art and curiosities brought together by European nobles in the 16th and 17th centuries." – Grace Glueck, The New York Times

One of the most internationally-acclaimed Japanese artists living today, Hiroshi Sugimoto is best known for his photographic series of empty movie theaters and drive-ins, seascapes, dioramas and wax museums. This exhibition juxtaposed Sugimoto’s exquisitely minimalist works, selected from the photographer’s past and most recent series, with fossils, artworks and religious artifacts ranging from prehistoric to the 15th century, all drawn from his own collection. The result is an extended exploration of time, life and spirituality as perceived in the contexts of nature and history. The exhibition, Sugimoto writes, addressed "recorded history, unrecorded history, and still another history–that which is yet to be depicted… like parts waiting to be assembled in a do-it-yourself kit."

Hiroshi Sugimoto: History of History was co-organized by the Japan Society and the Freer Gallery of Art & the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Support for this exhibition was provided by Toyota Motor North America, Inc., New York State Council for the Arts, Daniele Agostino Foundation, Inc. and The Cowles Charitable Trust.

Additional support was provided by the Leadership Committee for History of History.

Exhibitions at the Japan Society are also made possible in part by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund and the Friends of Arts and Culture. Installations at Japan Society Gallery are supported by a generous gift from Henry Cornell.


  • September 23, 2005 – February 19, 2006