Archives For Washington DC

Isamu Noguchi was a citizen of the world. Born in LA, raised in the American Midwest, Tokyo, New York, and Paris, he viewed the world through many lenses. He loved Italy’s piazzas, Mexico’s temples, Egypt’s pyramids, and designed furniture with these inspirations as he sought to construct open spaces for civic life. His connection to people in the present was rooted in his devotion to our universal past.

Currently at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, there is the exhibition, Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern. The exhibit, showing until March 19th, features an impressive variety of Noguchi’s monolithic basalt sculptures, aluminum sculptures, his Akari lanterns (Akari means “light” in Japanse), furniture, and also the designs for several patents he registered in the United States.

Oaken (Hiroshima Mask), 1954
Iron

 

Cloud, 1959
Aluminum

 

Freeform Sofa

Akari (70F), 1978
Paper, Bamboo, Metal

 

 

Noguchi’s U.S Patents for Akari Lanterns

 

Stool and Table

 

Patents for Stool and Table

Black and Blue, 1958-9, 1979-80
aluminum, electrostatic paint, and polyurethane paint

Isamu Noguchi admired inventors over anyone else, and he also admired the American spirit of innovation. He didn’t see a difference between artistic creation and invention, and sought to unify these approaches. He said, “Every American in a sense is an inventor. After all, that’s how America was made . . . We admire people like Alexander Graham Bell. Those are the real artists of America.”

Isamu Noguchi died December 30th, 1988 in New York City.

By: David Plick