Avalon Theatre, Catalina Island

Hiroshi Sugimoto Japanese

Not on view

In 1978 Sugimoto began a series of photographs called Motion Pictures, in which he recorded the empty interiors of a number of Depression-era movie palaces. The elaborate decor of each theater—mostly fantasy interpretations of Italian villas, Spanish courts, or Persian gardens—frames a blank but mysteriously glowing movie screen. This hallucinatory radiance derives from the cumulative projection of an entire feature film compressed, through long exposure, into Sugimoto’s negative. The resulting light delicately reveals what is usually hidden: the interior of the theater’s shell, gleaming seductively with the high expectancy and grand illusions of popular culture.

Avalon Theatre, Catalina Island, Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, born Tokyo, 1948), Gelatin silver print

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