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Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern

Friday, November 11, 2016 - Sunday, March 19, 2017

Isamu Noguchi was among the most innovative American sculptors of the twentieth century, creating works that were far ahead of his time. 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 Noguchi’s vision for the future.

More than seventy works on loan from The Noguchi Museum include monolithic basalt sculptures, fountains, and Akari Light Sculptures, as well as works that use stone, water, and light to evoke nature while calling to mind elemental structures that cross civilizations and time. Noguchi viewed himself not only as an artist but also an engineer, and the exhibition devotes special attention to Noguchi’s patented designs, including Radio Nurse—the first baby monitor. Also on view are designs for stage sets, playgrounds, and utilitarian articles, many of which are still produced today.

Isamu Noguchi: Archaic/Modern, which is accompanied by a catalogue, is co-curated by Noguchi Museum Senior Curator Dakin Hart and Karen Lemmey, sculpture curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The idea for the exhibition grew out of Highlights from the Collection: Noguchi Archaic/Noguchi Modern, on view at The Noguchi Museum in 2014.

Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets, N.W., Washington, DC. americanart.si.edu

Image: Isamu Noguchi, Red Lunar Fist, 1944. ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / Artists Right Society (ARS).