The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, June 23, 2018

Exhibition devoted to Isamu Noguchi's tools, techniques, and studio practice opens
Isamu Noguchi working in stone yard at his Mure, Japan studio, 1975. Photographer unknown.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Noguchi Museum opened Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi’s Studio Practice, the first exhibition to explore the distinctive working methods of Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), one of the most critically acclaimed sculptors of the twentieth century. In the course of his peripatetic, sixty-year career, Noguchi established a succession of studios around the world—in the United States, Italy, and Japan—and their geographic locations and cultural milieus profoundly influenced his artistic development and production.

With objects drawn from the incomparable holdings of The Noguchi Museum, the display features an array of hand- and industrial tools owned by the artist, archival photos and film footage of Noguchi at work, and a relevant selection of finished as well as unfinished sculptures. The exhibition remains on view through April 28, 2013.

Jenny Dixon, director of The Noguchi Museum, states: “Noguchi’s sculpture represents an exquisite blend of craft and creativity. Thanks to its rich holdings of materials that document all aspects of Noguchi’s working methods, the Museum is able to explore the artist’s craft and technique in this fascinating exhibition. By taking visitors behind the scenes into Noguchi’s studios, Hammer, Chisel, Drill provides a rare opportunity to appreciate the extraordinary technical prowess and perfectionism behind his artistic achievement.”

Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi’s Studio Practice forsakes a chronological path in favor of one that is organized around the working methods that Noguchi used in his most important studios, which were located in New York (Greenwich Village and Long Island City), Italy (Pietrasanta and Querceta), and Japan (Kita Kamakura and Mure).

The exhibition begins by focusing on the brief but transformative period beginning in spring 1927 that Noguchi spent in the Paris studio of the revolutionary abstract sculptor Constantin Brancusi, who encouraged the young artist to carve directly into stone (rather than first creating a clay or plaster model), and who advocated the use of simple, old-fashioned hand-tools. Among the items on display is a chemin de fer, a primitive, rasp-like instrument that Noguchi reportedly used to assist Brancusi in the carving of one of the elder artist’s iconic Birds in Space. Also on view are two of Noguchi’s own early abstract sculptures, Sail Shape (ca. 1928) and Globular (1928), and film footage of Brancusi’s studio, a live-work space with a showroom that would serve as a model for Noguchi’s own future studios.

Stone Carving
The next section features three studio periods: MacDougal Alley (1940s), Pietrasanta and Querceta, Italy (1960s–1980s), and Mure (1969–1988), in all of which Noguchi focused on stone carving. The artist lived and worked in his first long-term studio, located in Greenwich Village’s MacDougal Alley, from 1943 to 1949. The so-called interlocking sculptures of this period, made of flat, biomorphically shaped sheets of stone, were in part an adaptive response to the ready availability and low cost of slabs of marble and slate, which were used for building-facing and gravestones. However, the thinness of the sheets and the precision cutting they required obliged Noguchi to utilize power tools—a notable departure from the dictums of Brancusi. Among the objects on view here are the motor-driven, flexible shaft Noguchi used at this time; archival photographs showing maquettes for his slab sculptures set up in the studio and others showing the artist in the studio; and two finished works from this period, Gregory (Effigy) and Seed, both 1946.

Noguchi’s time in studios in the neighboring Italian towns of Pietrasanta and Querceta, which were close to the famed marble quarries of Monte Altissimo (founded by Michelangelo), helped to rekindle his interest in direct stone-carving and in further experimentation with marble sculpture. Here, he had access to marble not only from Monte Altissimo, but also from locations throughout the world, as Pietrasanta was the site of stone importers as well as quarries owned by the firm Henraux.

In the Italian studios, Noguchi learned to use technology that enabled discrete pieces of marble to become unified into “single” forms that appear to be flexible. In the exhibition, this is visible in The Opening (1970), which comprises alternating bands of rose and white marble, seamlessly conjoined and shaped to create the illusion of a bending tube.

At the same time, the artist also worked with the raw qualities of just-quarried stone, as seen in works such as the large-scale Untitled (c. 1964), one of several in which he utilized the jagged cuts of such stone. Also on view here is a selection of the pneumatic air hammers and shaft grinders the artist used for his marble sculpting, as well as a video, made ca. 1970, showing him at work in his Pietrasanta studio.

In contrast to the materials used in Italy, it was the abundance of hard, igneous stones, such as granite and basalt, that attracted Noguchi to Mure, on the Japanese island of Shikoku, where he established his second studio in Japan, in 1969—the first was in Kita Kamakura, in 1952—and spent half of each year until his death. The massive hammers and thick chisel heads used at Mure, as well as a pair of unfinished granite sculptures, eloquently convey the physical challenges of working with such materials. Nonetheless, Noguchi seems to have found the slower, more gradual pace of work at Mure congenial, encouraging a degree of improvisation and enabling him to allow his forms to develop and evolve over time, recalling the classical idea of allowing an image to emerge from the stone.

Headquarters for Architectural and Landscape Projects
In 1961, Noguchi moved into and created the Tenth Street studio in New York’s Long Island City, across from the building that would become The Noguchi Museum. This served as a permanent home-base and organizational headquarters for the many and varied projects that occupied him for the last twenty-five years of his life. In this section of the exhibition, Noguchi’s drafting table, surrounded by plaster models for such prestigious commissions as the Sunken Garden of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University (1960–1964) and the Philip H. Hart Plaza in Detroit (1972–1979), evokes the Tenth Street studio’s function as the nerve center of the artist’s professional life.

The studio’s living quarters—designed and executed in collaboration with a Japanese furniture designer and master carpenter—also served as a personal museum, echoing the example of Brancusi. Many of the traditional Japanese woodworking tools that Noguchi used for this project are displayed here, along with photographs showing the rooms’ original appearance.

Clay and Ceramics
The final section of the exhibition takes us back to the early 1950s when, after spending most of 1949 traveling, Noguchi befriended a number of young architects and artists in Japan, leading to various collaborations. In 1952, he established his first studio in Japan, in the countryside at Kita Kamakura, and embarked on an intense period of experimentation with clay sculpture and ceramics, while also working on paper forms for his Akari light sculptures. His live-in studio—a primitive lean-to of earthen walls constructed under Noguchi’s direction—was itself an extension of the artist’s sustained involvement with organic and regional materials at this time. In addition to photographs of Noguchi at work at Kita Kamakura, this section includes a display of the clay modeling and shaping tools he used, as well as two of his ceramic stoneware sculptures, Lonely Tower (1952) and Daruma (1952).

Today's News

October 15, 2012

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen exhibits more than 80 masterpieces by artists around 1400

Pace Gallery in London opens Rothko/Sugimoto: Dark Paintings and Seascapes

The Morgan hosts exhibition of master drawings from Munich's Staatliche Graphische Sammlung

"Mouton De Laine" from the collection of Adelaide de Menil and Edmund S. Carpenter to be offered at Christie's

Old master portraits open windows into the lives of African individuals from all levels of European society

Van Cleef & Arpels presents a new, more contemporary, interpretation of The Pierre Arpels watch

Exhibition devoted to Isamu Noguchi's tools, techniques, and studio practice opens

American artist Romare Bearden's "Black Odyssey" debuts at Reynolda House Museum of American Art

The Sainsbury Laboratory in Cambridge by Stanton Williams wins the RIBA Stirling Prize 2012

Dallas Museum of Art presents "Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries"

Ends of the Earth: Land art from the 1960s to 1974 on view at Haus der Kunst in Munich

"Edouard Baldus and the Modern Landscape" opens at James Hyman Gallery in London

Dartmouth expands public art initiatives with major installation by projection artist Ross Ashton

Innovative new architects' house in Peckham wins 2012 Stephen Lawrence Prize

Ronnie Landfield "Where it All Began": Exhibition at New York City's famed High School of Art and Design

The Path to Crystal Bridges: New exhibition showcases the work of architect Moshe Safdie

World-wide quest uncovers cross-cultural world's fairs art objects

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art appoints Hunter O'Hanian Museum Director

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presents "The Parade: Nathalie Djurberg with Music by Hans Berg"

Moon rock brings $330,000 to lead $1,066,000+ meteorite event at Heritage Auctions

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful