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Exhibition presents Isamu Noguchi's influential designs for playgrounds and play structures
Isamu Noguchi, U.S. Pavilion Expo ’70, 1968; © the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Kevin Noble.


SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The San Francisco Museum of Art is showing Noguchi’s Playscapes, a survey of Isamu Noguchi’s influential designs for playgrounds and play structures that explores the democratization of public space.

Noguchi’s Playscapes presents ideas about the democratization of art and public space by Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988). The artist was a fervent believer that sculpture is an aesthetic and cultural tool capable of creating synergy between individuality and society. Observing that playgrounds offer a physical and social interaction not typically seen in a museum, Noguchi designed a number of public spaces where visitors could actively engage with art. The exhibition gathers his designs for several playgrounds, stand-alone play structures and other works that, while serious in subject, employ playful elements to engage the viewer. The body of work presented has become hugely influential for contemporary landscape architects, urban planners, artists and education specialists. Noguchi’s playscapes provoke a reconsideration of the role of art in recreation, education and community.

“Inspired by observing dancers interact with the set designs he created, Noguchi saw public playscapes as opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to physically interact with art,” said Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design at SFMOMA. “Through play, we are less socially inhibited, and as public space becomes increasingly politicized, Noguchi’s thoughtful designs for play, reflection and creative stimulation remain aspirational.”

The exhibition is organized by the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo and the Fundacíon Olga y Rufino Tamayo, A.C., in collaboration with The Noguchi Museum in New York. The presentation at SFMOMA is curated by Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design.






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