JOE 2064, 2004

JOE 2053, 2004

JOE 2134, 2004

JOE 2111, 2004





In July of 2003, Hiroshi Sugimoto visited the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis.Eckhard Schneider, Director of the Kunsthaus Bregenz (Austria), had arranged for him to come.

Initially, Sugimoto intended to take photographs of the Pulitzer building, which was designed by his fellow countryman Tadao Ando. However, he quickly focused on Richard Serra’s Joe, a sculpture which was commissioned as part of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. The first of Serra’s torqued spirals, Joe is installed in the courtyard. 

Like a work of architecture, this sculpture has to be experienced by walking aroundand through it. The only torqued spiral that is permanently installed outdoors, Joe is different according to the time of the day, the season, and the viewer’s position. It is in the visitor’s memory that the sculpture “takes shape” in the most complete way.

Sugimoto’s photographs of Joe and the sculpture itself are quintessentially parallel,creations. Using a photographic technique involving areas of extremely soft light and blurred darkness, he sculpted views that seem like aspects of visual memory: the arts of photography and sculpture overlap and memories of the two-and the three-dimensional mix.  To further the idea of parallel creations, Sugimoto suggested for this book commissioning a text by a novelist. Jonathan Safran Foer’s deep interest in the juxtaposition of the visual arts and poetic language predestined him to be part of the project. He composed a text in relation to the sculpture and the photographs without describing or defending them.

Takaaki Matumoto designed the book. He created the “place” for the appreciation of Sugimoto’s and Foer’s parallel creations. In the same way, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts is a place for creation and inspires a very personal experience.

The title of the book is Joe. The protagonist of Foer’s text is Joe. The title of the sculpture in the courtyard of the Pulitzer is Joe. Those who knew the late Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. may perceive Joe as a very personal homage. Those who are unaware of that connection simply perceive the name as an unassuming title for a specific work of art. Joe “belongs” to those who are inspired by it.

From May 12th until October 14th, 2006, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts presents nineteen of Sugimoto’s photographs. This body of work is installed in relation to the contemplative aspect of the galleries and to Joe in the courtyard.


Matthias Waschek
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts