Yesterday evening I had the great pleasure of visiting the Noguchi Museum & Sculpture Garden in Long Island City (Queens), New York.
The Noguchi Museum & Sculpture Garden is filled with pieces both chosen and placed by Isamu Noguchi himself and the entire place has the calm tranquility of a Japanese garden.
Anyone who has shopped a Ikea is familiar (at least indirectly) with the work of Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi, because the paper Akari Lamps which he designed in the 1950′s have become staples of mid-century modern design. As such, Noguchi’s Akari Light Sculptures, as he called them, have been knocked-off by manufactures high and low.
The cheapest of these you’ll find at IKEA: $14.99 for the DUDERÖ floor lamp etc., yet there’s still something entirely special about the original designs of Isamu Noguchi.
Icons of mid century design, each Akari lamp is handmade from washi paper and bamboo ribbing by the original manufacturer in Gifu, Japan. In the words of Noguchi, “the harshness of electricity is thus transformed, as if by magic, into the light of our origins – sunlight – so that it’s warmth can carry on filling our rooms after dark.” My favorite is simply called “Ceiling Lamp Model E“, and at 116″ in length, is for an entryway much more grand than mine
The Noguchi Coffee Table is another classic of mid-century design, with which you might be familiar, and and his stone sculptures are beautiful, tactile, and organic. My favorite is a simple rectangular table about 18″ high with two water-filled basins. He also did whimsical prints, large-scale installation art, and public art projects around the world.
Below are some of the photographs I took. For more images, and to get a broader sense of the work of Isamu Noguchi, and/or to purchase pieces of his work, visit the Noguchi Museum’s website. Oh, and the first Friday of every month is “pay what you wish” and they sell beer & wine for your walk amongst the sculptures.