LONG ISLAND CITY, NY.- The Noguchi Museum
has organized two exhibitions featuring highlights from the collection, including recent acquisitions presented at the Museum for the first time. Also on view for the summer is a compelling display revealing how Isamu Noguchi used paper as a medium for developing and executing ideas for sculpture and stage sets. The exhibitions are on view through September 1, 2013.
Director Jenny Dixon stated, "We are delighted to showcase works from the collection reflecting such a range of media, forms, and influences in Noguchi's life. Together, they present a fascinating lens through which to explore the artist's process and his extraordinary spatial imagination that enabled him to conceive work in three-dimensions and execute ideas."
Collection Highlights: Reworked
Collection Highlights: Reworked is organized around four instances in which Noguchi returned to an earlier body of work to rethink, redevelop, reproduce, or restore it. The first example includes two sets of objects inspired by Constantin Brancusi. One set was created following Noguchi's apprenticeship in Brancusi's Paris studio in the late 1920s, when he was still very much under the Romanian artist's influence. The second was revisited two decades later, in homage to his mentor following his death.
The second grouping examines Noguchi's dynamic interlocking sculptures of the 1940s. While the majority of these were made in stone, the original version of Remembrance (1944) is a rare example in wood. In the 1970s and 80s, these achieved broad recognition as masterpieces thereby creating a high demand. Because of their delicacy, Noguchi remade a number of them in bronze and aluminum.
Although much of Noguchi's time in Querceta, Italy, (where he worked most summers from 1964 onward) was spent with power tools, his curiosity about stone and desire to engage with it by hand never abated. The third group includes works in marble from the late 1960s and 80s that feature an explicit use of the chisel, recalling Michelangelo's non-finito or, "unfinished" technique.
The final grouping comprises several of Noguchi's set designs created for the renowned dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. The display explores the complex considerations taken into account when making functional sculpture for use by dancers in performance. As a result of the constant need to repair and replace them over time, most of these set elements exist in several different forms: originals, performance copies, and exhibition copies made by the artist and his fabricators, as well as by the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Highlights from the Collection: Recent Acquisitions
The Museum will present nine recent acquisitions from two Japanese collections: Tsutomu Hiroi, Noguchi's friend and collaborator, and a private collector. With the exception of Yoshiko-san (1952), a wall hanging made of iron, the works are ceramic and stoneware.
As evidenced by the instruction he gave his business manager in the 1980s--to never sell any of his ceramics--Noguchi had a particularly proprietary feeling about them. The gift enables the Museum to display more examples of Noguchi's ceramic output. The whimsical Love of Two Boards (1950) is a highlight of the gift from Hiroi, a famous kite-maker who helped Noguchi develop his iconic Akari Light Sculptures.
The other group comes from the family of an assistant of Noguchi's and features a small centipede that relates to his Even the Centipede, the 1952 clay masterwork in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Area 5: Cut and Fold
This exhibition looks at ways in which Noguchi employed paper as an extension of his spatial imagination and as a primary tool in the development and execution of sculptures and stage sets. Area 5: Cut and Fold presents three examples: the well-known but often misunderstood Worksheets for Sculpture (c. 1940) Noguchi made to conceive, piece out, and plan his interlocking stone and wood sculptures; the multi-layered collages that helped him think through the unique space in which dance and theater sets function; and a group of recently rediscovered paper maquettes displayed with a selection of the cut and folded metal sculptures they generated.
Drawn from the Museum's collection of 1,500 works on paper and 17,000 photographs and documents, Area 5: Cut and Fold is the first in a new series of exhibitions designed to offer insights into Noguchi's practice, projects, life, and career. The exhibition also marks the return of Area 5 as a gallery after serving for nearly a decade as a video room.