La Boite en Bois en Acrylique

Hiroshi Sugimoto, la Boite en Bois, 2004, ed. 2/35, from Melva Bucksbaum’s 2018 sale at Christie’s

I’ve been a Hiroshi Sugimoto fan for many years now, more or less, though I admit I’m partial to the early hits.

When his fundraising edition for the New Museum came out in 2004, I hesitated and lost the chance, but I haven’t really regretted it too much, until maybe right now.

Each of the 45 examples in Sugimoto’s edition is actually a pair of unique 8×10 negatives of the top and bottom of Tokyo University’s replica of Duchamp’s Large Glass, and unique contact prints of those same negatives. These four objects are sandwiched between two slabs of glass, and set in a wooden box.

I worred, frankly, because I didn’t think prints or negatives should be in contact with the glass like that, or necessarily with each other, either. [They’re facing opposite directions, which gives the work its interesting dark/light vibe.] I also wasn’t sure how to show it. Melva Bucksbaum’s example above, sold at Christie’s in 2018, is how I imagined it: put away in a box.

Sugimoto’s la Boite en Bois (Wooden Box), 2004, 45 x 30 cm without the sweet acrylic mount, being sold as lot 118 in Sotheby’s online photo sale ending 10 Apr 2024

But whoever’s selling ed. 31/35 at Sotheby’s right now has figured it out, at least partially. The bois is gone, and the glass assemblage is pinned into an acrylic frame and base. It’s pretty slick, and already going for more than Bucksbaum’s low-numbered example. My window may be closing again. [update: it closed. $20,320.]