Professor David Raskin looks at the photographic work of contemporary Japanese artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto.



In asking why responses to Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs turn on a dime from awe to scorn, Raskin’s lecture suggests that these strange works of art manage to escape human desires. The hope is that by moving the conversation away from entrenched dichotomies such as aesthetics or anti-aesthetics, and toward an analysis of the nature of objects and feelings, the presentation can suggest the ethical and practical consequences of inhuman art.

This Power Lecture was held on 25 May 2015 as part of Vivid Ideas. The lecture was co-presented with the University of Sydney’s Sydney Ideas program.



David Raskin is Mohn Family Professor of Contemporary Art History, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Editor-in-Chief of He is author of Donald Judd (2010) and other scholarly publications, including essays on Noriyuki Haraguchi, Ad Reinhardt, Jo Baer, Olle Baertling, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Carl Andre, and pragmatic aesthetics. For May 2015, he is Visiting Fellow at the United States Study Centre, University of Sydney.