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Noguchi, Isamu - Smithsonian American Art Museum

Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern

Isamu Noguchi was among the most innovative American sculptors of the twentieth century, creating works that were far ahead of his time. His design for Sculpture to Be Seen from Mars (1947) anticipates the space age by several decades. Yet Noguchi frequently found inspiration in ancient art and architecture, from Egyptian pyramids, to Buddhist temples and Zen gardens, to American Indian burial mounds. The exhibition Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern is the first full-scale exhibition to explore how the ancient world shaped this artist’s innovative vision for the future.
Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern (11.11.2016 - 19.03.2017) brings together more than eighty works, nearly all on loan from The Noguchi Museum, made over six decades. Featured works include several monolithic basalt sculptures, fountains, and floating Akari ceiling lights, as well as works that use stone, water, and light to evoke nature and call to mind elemental structures in civilization across time. Noguchi saw himself as equal parts artist and engineer and the exhibition devotes special attention to his patented designs, such as Radio Nurse—the first baby monitor, and also includes his designs for stage sets, playgrounds, and utilitarian articles, many of which are still being produced today.

Isamu Noguchi  1904 Los Angeles † 1988 New York

was born to an American mother and Japanese father, and spent his childhood in Japan and teenage years in the American Midwest. He had a complex perspective on the events of World War II and drew on his unique global perspective to create artworks that confront both the positive and negative consequences of progress—from the devastating effect of the atomic bomb to the potential of atomic energy and promise of the space age, both of which are addressed in this thematically organized exhibition. (Text: SAAM)