Public Programs Archive


View our archive of past public programs.

Matrix code:
Visions of Tomorrow: Art and Commerce at the 1939 New York World's Fair
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Early on in the planning process for the 1939/1940 World's Fair, the potential existed for Noguchi to be involved in the Fair in three different ways that are emblematic of his flexibility, values, and interests. First he applied as an independent artist to produce sculpture for the Fair's public areas. The selection committee asked him to supply additional materials, but in the end he was not chosen. In the wake of that rejection, however, he requested a list of corporations planning pavilions which is how he ended up building a fountain for Ford Motor Company. Simultaneous with his independent application and the project for Ford, he was also working on a major sculpture for the facade of a proposed (but unexecuted)  Model Community Center designed by the Architects, Painters, and Sculptors Collaborative. 



Helen Harrison, Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center and Editor of Dawn of a New Day: The New York World's Fair, 1939/40, will discuss ways in which artists' participation in the fair, both directly and as the subcontractors of other participating organizations, reflected the planners' agenda, and what role art played in promoting the Fair's ostensible aim, "Building the world of tomorrow."



Noguchi's Search for Style
Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Brett Littman, Executive Director of The Drawing Center, and Dakin Hart, Senior Curator of The Noguchi Museum, will discuss how and why drawing is fundamental to establishing the faculty Michelangelo called disegno (design): the ability to coordinate the hand, the eye, and the brain in service of the artistic imagination. They will be looking at drawings in the exhibition Noguchi's Early Drawings in order to parse how Noguchi's serial imitations of canonical Modernist approaches to abstracting the human figure helped him develop the values and strategies that became his style. 

This talk will be followed by a VIP Armory Show/ Noguchi Museum Collectors Council event including a behind-the-scenes look at unframed drawings from across Isamu Noguchi's career. If you are interested in joining the Collectors Council, please contact Renee Schacht at


Artists at Noguchi
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Bora Yoon Listening Event 

Join us for this special preview of the music for Sunken Cathedral, a multimedia performance work by Korean-American composer, vocalist, sound artist, and 2014 TED Fellow, Bora Yoon.  

Designed as an architectural and archetypal journey through the subconscious, Sunken Cathedral is about death, life, rebirth, and the cyclical/ recombinant nature of the universe. The Sunken Cathedral album will be released by INNOVA Recordings, the label of the American Composers Forum, this spring. 

Program will include an introduction to the album by the artist. Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore the visual version of the album, soon to be available via Graphic Albums Collective, a new iPad application.

This program is made possible in part by the Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Visitors to the Museum on the day of the listening event who mention QCA will receive free admission. 




Noguchi Talks | Conservation Case Studies
Sunday, February 9, 2014 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm

In conversation with The Noguchi Museum’s curators, collection manager, and researchers, Leslie Gat, Principle Objects Conservator of Art Conservation Group, will present a combination of pending, in progress, and recently completed conservation and reconstruction projects.



Objects will be present for the discussion including:

Portrait bust of Molly Boocock Leavitt, 1936

Two maquettes for
Monument to Heroes, 1943, 1978 (unexecuted)

Maquette for Memorial to Buddha ,1957 (unexecuted)

Sparrow ,1982-83

Noguchi- Pratt Fashion: What Inspires Opening Reception
Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

In the fall of 2013, juniors in the Fashion Department at Pratt were introduced to Isamu Noguchi's collaborations with the avant-garde dancer/choreographer Ruth Page, for whom he created two royal blue, wool jersey sack dresses in 1932 to pose and dance in: wearable artworks that transformed her into a piece of kinetic sculpture. Still in the process of learning how to turn their interests into invention, the students then spent time at The Noguchi Museum in search of inspiration. Each student developed a garment in response to something they found. Eleven were selected in a competitive process at the end of the semester and refined over the winter break.

The winning ensembles, by students: Kiet Tran, Helena Eisenhart, Sophie Andes Gascon, Claire McKinney, Shaelyn Zhu, Chantal Galipeau, Nathanial Boon Kit Woo, Giovanna Flores, Katya Reily, Landry Low, and Nicole Maleski, will be on view at The Noguchi Museum between January 22 and February 23.

Opening reception for the designers, their friends and family, and the public will be held in the Museum's Education Room (accessible from the Garden.)

Image: Katya Reily, Ensemble, 2013 

Building an Exhibition: Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930
Sunday, January 12, 2014 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Former Assistant Director of The Noguchi Museum from 1985 to 1990, Alexandra Snyder May was introduced to the work of Isamu Noguchi through her grandfather, R. Buckminster Fuller. Her appreciation for Noguchi's Peking Scroll Drawings formed early with the memory of a Noguchi scroll hanging in her grandparent's geodesic dome-home in Carbondale, Illinois. She has been an important curatorial consultant throughout the exhibition's planning process. 

Organized by the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) in collaboration with The Noguchi Museum, Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930 was made possible with a collection of ink-and-brush drawings by both artists. Many of the works in this exhibition were donated to UMMA in 1949 by Sotokichi Katsuizumi, who introduced Noguchi and Qi Baishi to one another in 1930.

This January, Amy Hau and Alexandra Snyder May will, through conversation, speak on the development of Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930

January First Friday
Friday, January 10, 2014 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm

Please note, January's First Friday programming has been rescheduled for Friday, January 10 due to inclement weather. 

Join us for The Noguchi Museum's final First Friday extended evening hours of the winter season. First Friday programming includes Center of Attention, an extended conversation around a single work of art, at 6:00pm, followed by a curated film at 7:00pm. First Fridays also feature pay-what-you-wish admission and a cash bar with wine and beer. This fall, the First Friday film series has been selected in conjunction with the exhibition Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930


This January, The Noguchi Museum will feature The Lost Magic of the Shanghai Art Studios. This film by Marie-Claire Quiquemelle and Julien Gaurichon documents the Shanghai Art Studios. One of the world's largest animation studios by the end of the 1950's, on par with Disney, Shanghai Art Studios completed its most complex and acclaimed animation, The Monkey King, just before the 1965 Cultural Revolution effectively halted its productions. Key players recount its boom years and downfall, including the director Te Wei, whose late 1950's animations were directly inspired by the ink paintings of Qi Baishi. 

Amy Lyford | Culture, Collaboration, and Identity: Noguchi in the 1930's and 40s
Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Building on themes developed in her new book, Isamu Noguchi's Modernism: Negotiating Race, Labor, and Nation, 1930-1950, Lyford will explore the complex interplay of community and identity in Noguchi's work of the 1930s and 40s. Although it is not always immediately apparent in the full range of his diverse artistic activity, Noguchi was always cognizant of, and deeply committed to, understanding and fostering art's social relevance. 

Weaving together new archival material, little-known or unrealized works, as well as those that are more familiar, Lyford offers a fresh perspective on Noguchi's relationship with the most important cultural and political issues of his time. This context should be particularly helpful in setting a stage for understanding more purely formal-seeming projects like those surveyed in the Museum's two fall exhibitions: Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930 and Space, Choreographed: Noguchi and Ruth Page.

December First Friday
Friday, December 6, 2013 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm

The Noguchi Museum offers extended evening hours on the first Friday of every month. First Friday programming includes Center of Attention, an extended conversation around a single work of art at 6:00pm, followed by a curated film at 7:00pm. First Fridays also feature pay-what-you-wish admission and a cash bar with wine and beer. This fall's First Friday film series has been selected in conjunction with the exhibition Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi, Beijing 1930

This October and December, The Noguchi Museum will feature selections from the twelve part documentary Routes: The Spiritual Odyssey of Chinese American AristsThis film features interviews with native Chinese artists who came to America to pursue their passion for arts. Routes was locally produced by a Chinese American and takes the audience through each artists working process. This December, The Noguchi Museum will feature episodes with the New York based artists Shen Ruijun and Zheng Lianjie


Image: Shen Ruijun from

Modern Ink Painting in China
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

In conjunction with the exhibition Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930, Asia Society will host a panel discussion on modern ink painting in China with Eugene Wang, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art at Harvard University, Natsu Oyobe, Associate Curator of Asian Art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and collector H. Christopher Luce, moderated by Melissa Chiu, Director of Asia Society Museum. This program is presented in collaboration with The Noguchi Museum. 

Location: Asia Society | 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, NYC

Admission: $10 for Asia Society and Noguchi Museum Members*, $12 for Seniors and Students and $15 for general admission. 

To purchase tickets please call 212-517-ASIA (2742) or visit

*Museum Members please email to receive code to purchase tickets at the discounted rate.

Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930 is organized by the University of Michigan Museum of Art in collaboration with The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York.
Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation, and the Freeman Foundation. Additional support is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies and Confucius Institute, and the Blakemore Foundation.