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Noguchi Museum starts $8M stabilization project

By Nathan Duke

The second phase of the project, estimated at $8.2 million, kicked off Tuesday. During this phase, the museum's garden wall will be stabilized, new windows will be installed and the entry pavilion will be rebuilt, Director Jenny Dixon said.”Because we're near the East River our basement was flooded,” she said. “We've had to secure the core facility and that has cost more than anticipated. So other parts of the project have been postponed. This building was built in the 1920s and the bricks were starting to fall out. It's very uneven because of the way it has settled.”The museum will remain open during the renovation, but its sculpture garden will be closed, Dixon said. Construction is expected to be completed by October, she said.The museum, located at 901 33rd Rd. in Long Island City, undertook the $13.5 million first phase of its stabilization project between 2002 and 2004, after its structure began to settle unevenly, Director Jenny Dixon said.A third phase for the museum's renovation will include garden remediation, including the creation of a new gate, Dixon said. The museum would need to raise $1 million for the third phase, she said.The 27,000-square-foot museum was founded in 1985 by internationally renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who designed the complex as an open-air sculpture garden within a building housing 10 galleries. The upper level of the museum hosts exhibitions relating to Noguchi's work for 10 months each year, while the ground floor permanently exhibits the artist's work.The museum has the world's largest exhibition of the artist's sculptures, furniture, lamps, stage designs and drawings and architectural models. Noguchi died in 1988.”This museum is a very special place – it's one of the treasures of Queens,” Borough President Helen Marshall said at a kick-off ceremony for the museum's upgrade. “It's an educational and cultural investment that future generations will enjoy.”During this summer's construction, the Noguchi Museum will loan some of its works to England's Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which will feature some of the artist's work, Dixon said.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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