Isamu Noguchi

  • Born 1904 in Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Died 1988 in New York, NY, USA

Isamu Noguchi worked in a variety of media, including sculpture, ceramics, architecture, garden and theater design, lighting, and furniture-making. He found inspiration in both Japanese techniques and American modernity, and collaborated with many artists, including choreographer Martha Graham (1894–1991) and composer John Cage (1912–1992). As the son of Japanese writer Yonejirō Noguchi (1875–1947) and American writer Léonie Gilmour (1873–1933), Noguchi often traveled between Japan and the United States. He worked as an intern for the monumental sculptor Gutzon Borglum (1867–1941) in 1922, and after taking sculpture classes he abandoned his premedical studies at Columbia University in 1924 to pursue art. Noguchi received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1927 and assisted in the studio of Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957) in Paris for two years. His own first sculpture commission was News (1938), symbolizing freedom of the press for the Associated Press building at New York’s Rockefeller Center. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the backlash against Japanese Americans caused his work to become more politicized and he requested placement in an internment camp in Arizona. Noguchi received many important prizes for his work; he represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1986.

Artworks by Isamu Noguchi in the exhibition