BY BRADLEY HAWKS
In celebration of its thirtieth anniversary, the Noguchi Museum will feature the works of thirty artists. From now through January 10th, guests can enjoy a groundbreaking exhibit that features nearly fifty works by a collection of some of the most renowned, visionary, and award-winning artists. “One of the greatest things about the past few weeks has been having living artists back in the museum,” explained Museum Director Jenny Dixon in reflection of the time spent preparing the exhibit.
The recently renovated sculpture garden and open air entrance gallery are some of the most stunning parts of the 2-story museum, featuring ten galleries that occupy nearly 27,000 square feet of a renovated industrial building in Long Island City near Socrates Sculpture Park. It was the first museum in America to be founded by a living artist to show his own work.
For the special exhibit, one of the second floor galleries actually serves as a satellite for the Department of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—and is the only space where visitors can experience those sculptures without the obstruction of the glass showcases employed in the Manhattan displays.
One of America’s most acclaimed artists, Noguchi represented a blend of Eastern and Western philosophies. “He was known for taking a very zen idea,” says Senior Curator Dakin Hart, “and then executing it with Roman stone and Italian workers.” Witnessing Noguchi’s work being illuminated by the synonymous endeavors of contemporary artists only highlights the beauty of his profound take on the world. “Returning to the most simple concepts can lead to the most profound revelations,” echoes Dixon.
“Noguchi was interested in stone not primarily because it can be shaped, but because it is, literally and figuratively, the raw material of civilization,” reflects Hart. “Almost every culture that has used rock—and that is almost every culture in human history—has developed a culture of stone.”
It is a lot to ponder. One room displays pieces of the Berlin Wall juxtaposed with portions of the fortification wall in Jerusalem. These are stones that existed long before we were here, were manipulated for cultural significance, and will continue to exist and change long after we are gone.
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