Posts tagged with "Isamu Noguchi":

Ten architecture shows you don’t want to miss before they close

The new year may signal a turn to fresh beginnings, but before we close the book on 2017, this is the last chance to catch a range of thoughtfully-curated exhibits centered on design, history, planning, technology, and architecture. From a photographic survey of U.S.–Mexico border monuments to Isamu Noguchi's internment camp archive and a showcase of MacArthur genius grant winner Hector's work on urban processes, these shows engage the present and past of architecture in provocative ways. Don't sleep on these shows! Tu casa es mi casa Neutra VDL 2300 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA Closing January 13, 2018 This exhibit sheds light on the porous boundary between Mexico City and Los Angeles, with a focus on " architectural space, mass production, and domesticity within the legacy of modernism." The show displays site-specific installations by three Mexico City–based design teams, Frida Escobedo, Pedro&Juana, and Tezontle, who responded to letters from three California-based writers, Aris Janigian, Katya Tylevich, and David Ulin, who each spent time in the Neutra house.   Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age Cooper Hewitt, 2 E 92st Street, New York Closing January 15, 2018 The Cooper Hewitt is hosting the first major American exhibition of the Dutch designer Joris Laarman, who mixes traditional craftsmanship with modern fabrication to produce unique furniture design. On display is a range of Laarman’s work, arranged thematically to reveal each shift in his firm’s investigation of digital design.   Scaffolding Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York City Closing January 18 Greg Barton’s Scaffolding is an examination of the broad uses of scaffolding as a tool of utility in creating spaces of inhabitation and facilitating access to such spaces. With the widespread use of scaffolding across New York City, measuring an approximate length of 280 miles, the exhibit allows the audience to reimagine the ubiquitous temporary structures as potentially engaging features of the city’s streetscape.     No. 9 Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, 1172 Amsterdam Avenue, New York Closing January 19, 2018 No. 9 is an archival collection of the public sculpture program initiated in Mexico City for the 1968 Olympics. Termed the La Ruta de la Amistad (Route of Friendship), the network of nineteen monumental sculptures was influenced by multinational and modernist aesthetics, the only caveats of their design being abstract, composed of concrete and monumental in size. All the Queens Houses The Architectural League of New York, 594 Broadway, Suite 607, New York Closing January 26, 2018 The Architectural League’s All of the Queens Houses is a collection of 273 photographs of residences in Queens taken by architect Rafael Herrin-Ferri. The collection explores the vernacular, low-rise housing stock of the borough and the demographic diversity therein. Although Herrin-Ferri’s project contains over 5,000 photographs, those presented by the League are located in 34 neighborhoods across the borough.  

Self-Interned, 1942: Noguchi in Poston War Relocation Center The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard), Long Island City, NY Closing January 28, 2018

The show is centered on sculptor Isamu Noguchi's decision to voluntarily report to Poston, a Japanese internment camp in Arizona, in order to contribute his designs and skills to support the forcibly displaced residents. It features over two dozen works by Noguchi from 1941 to 1944, created pre- and post-internment, evoking this dark moment in American democracy and the impact of this experience on his art.   Damon Rich and Jae Shin: Space Brainz—Yerba Buena 3000 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA Closing January 28, 2018
In Space Brainz–Yerba Buena 3000, the gallery becomes a laboratory for dissecting power in the built environment through Hector’s recent projects in architecture and planning in North American cities. A colorful structure that fills the space is the framework on which Hector's models, photographs, and mock-ups take viewers on a journey of urban issues on many scales, from broken sidewalks to riverfront projects, suggesting that the city is a place where negotiation and conflicting interests are the only constants.  
Monuments: 276 Views of the U.S.–Mexico Border by David Taylor The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet Street, Houston Closing January 28, 2018 Almost a decade ago, photographer David Taylor set out to photograph the 276 obelisks that mark the U.S.–Mexico boundary established at the end of the Mexican–American War in 1848. This project took him along the 690 miles of border, often on foot, requiring special permissions, and culminated at a time when the border has re-emerged as a political flashpoint. This exhibit, in the artist's own words, a glimpse of what the border actually looks like, at a time when it seems to mostly exist in the realm of caricature and threat.   Every Building in Baghdad: The Rifat Chadirji Archives at Arab Image Foundation  LAX ART, 7000 California State Route 2, West Hollywood Closing February 17, 2018 The current instability of Iraq and Syria has destroyed and threatened countless structures of architectural significance, erasing large swaths of heritage in the Cradle of Civilization. A respite from this loss is the archival collection of organizations such as the Arab Image Foundation with their collection of photographs by Iraq architect Rifat Chadirji, who was pivotal to Baghdad's postwar modernization between the 1950s and 1970s. LAX ART is currently showing 60 photographic paste-ups of Chadirji's body of work, as well as hundreds of the architect's photographs of the streets of Baghdad in the 20th century.   Never Built New York Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY Closing February 18, 2018 AN‘s Contributing Editor Sam Lubell with contributor, critic, and writer Greg Goldin, shows a New York that could have been, featuring original prints, drawings, and models that never made it past the drawing board. Combed from over 40 different public and private collections, the show brings together the visions of Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert Moses, Eliot Noyes, and Steven Holl, among many others, and also shows a glimpse of the city's famous icons as they were originally planned. A bouncy castle version of Noyes' Westinghouse Pavilion and an insertion of 70 models into the Panorama of New York City, the scale model of the city, are among its highlights.

Atlanta’s Piedmont Park slated for $100 million expansion

Atlanta's premier park is slated for a major upgrade. Late last month, Mayor Kasim Reed announced that the city will kick in $20 million to expand Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, which sit just east of the city's Ansely Park neighborhood. The new entrance, envisioned by HGOR, will replace now privately-owned parcels at the park's northern tip near Piedmont Drive NE and Monroe Drive NE. Preliminary renderings and concept sketches depict new outbuildings surrounded by rolling green hills and broad, winding paths, a homage to the park's original Olmsted design. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens and the Piedmont Park Conservancy, a nonprofit that stewards the park, commissioned the Atlanta-based landscape architecture and urban design firm to do the initial renderings. HGOR works for public and private clients, mostly in the South. The expansion will include connections to the Atlanta BeltLine, the city's massive pedestrian and bike path project, plus additional access points to Piedmont Park. Building on the city's $20 million commitment, which includes a $2 million donation from an anonymous donor, Atlanta Committee for Progress board member and Home Depot CFO Carol Tomé is spearheading a funding effort to raise $80 million from private donors to acquire property and pay for the project's design and construction. Despite Atlanta's notorious car-centricity, the city maintains that 64 percent of residents live within a half-mile walk of a park, and the new entrance should up that number even further. To start the process, the City of Atlanta signed Letters of Intent on December 29, 2017 with two property owners at the chosen site, and the city will be conducting community engagement around the design. A city spokesperson said officials are waiting to close the real estate transaction, then fundraise and plan for the expansion. No date for the groundbreaking has been set. Piedmont Park was established in 1834, and primarily served as fairgrounds until the next century. The city commissioned Olmsted Brothers, the firm that John Charles and Frederick Law Jr. inherited from their father, to redesign the park in 1909, and most designs since then, including the 1995 master plan, have honored the Olmsted Brothers' original design intent. For the Bicentennial, Isamu Noguchi designed Playscape, a delightful one-acre spread of swings, slides, and climbing blocks, the same year the city leased land for the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

Robert Stadler and Noguchi Museum join forces for sculpture and weird furniture in new exhibition

To most, "accessorizing with Noguchi" means adding that famous coffee table or a paper lamp to the living room. Unlike regular people, though, designer Robert Stadler had the famous sculptor's whole catalogue on hand, choosing, among others, Big Id—a phallic marble sculpture—to complement his own work in an exuberant new show at the Noguchi Museum. Solid Doubts: Robert Stadler at The Noguchi Museum is the museum's first exhibition to feature another designer's work in such close dialogue with Isamu Noguchi. It's an opportunity, said Executive Director Jenny Dixon, to "layer contemporary voices into the museum." But it's also a high-stakes conversation—in addition to being one of the most peaceful places in New York, Noguchi designed the original galleries himself. How to create a space of your own and respect Noguchi? As its title suggests, Solid Doubts complicates the artists' work down to its very definitions. The first impulse is to pick out Noguchi from Stadler, Where's Waldo? style, but that's not the point. The actual fun is in the adjacencies across four installations that fold work from Stadler and Noguchi into each other. Stadler, who's based in Paris, and curator Dakin Hart arranged these tableaus in an intense collaboration they jokingly referred to as a "long-distance date." In the main gallery, Stadler's Cut_Paste #4 hosts two Noguchi sculptures, one in chunky slate and the other, a delicate gold anodized aluminum piece clinging to a marble shelf. The arrangements resist easy categories: Can you put a drink on it? Sit on it? Well—in the Cut_Paste series, these everyday distinctions don't really matter. "It's all designed to be used," Stadler said. "It's not meant to be sculpture." "They play with the typology of furniture but doesn't sit evenly or comfortably in any category," Hart added, noting that Stadler's confusing and borderline gaudy assemblages are supposed to recall leftovers from a bad 1980s luxury condo development. Two other galleries are reserved for more elaborate tableaus. In one, two fictional scenarios join together: Noguchi's set pieces for Martha Graham's ballets are placed among Stadler's digitally-milled PDT furniture in a meeting of fantasy and function. The room is organized, loosely, around Stadler's Anywhere #2, a moveable ceiling lamp which the artist guided around the room to illuminate Noguchi's props and his own ashlar table, bench, and mirror. In the other gallery, a deconstructed Chesterfield sofa melts against one wall, like tar, guarded by a pouf in the same material and flanked by sit-upons that would be at home at a Girl Scout meeting. The "biomorphic assault," as the museum calls it, underscores the subtly of Noguchi's lighting: two of his Akari lanterns anchor the walls, while one of the rarest Noguchi lamps, on loan from a private collector, surveys the room from above. The unencumbered layout—developed collaboratively with Stadler and the museum—lets visitors move in and around the works as they please (the accident-prone should note that this arrangement is easy to trip over). Outside, in Noguchi's garden, Stadler installed two works, playful riffs on cheap plastic garden furniture. Cast aluminum mockups of the white table and chair, looking sturdy in spite of their mottled surfaces and missing pieces, are placed apart from each other, a deliberate break from the table→chair→sit progression as well as a comment on the long-term sustainability of these familiar but flimsy items. For those reluctant to make the trek to Queens, Solid Doubts coincides with two upcoming opportunities to see Stadler's work in New York: He will have another Noguchi pairing at the Collective Design Fair next month, and at Weight Class, a solo exhibition at Carpenters Workshop Gallery that begins April 27. But really, why not go to the museum first? Solid Doubts: Robert Stadler at The Noguchi Museum opens April 26 and runs through September 3, 2017.

Robert Stadler and Noguchi will have a show together at Noguchi Museum

In an upcoming exhibition, the Noguchi Museum is presenting its namesake's work alongside Paris-based designer Robert Stadler's to explore the "whatness" of various objects. The musuem, which is based in Long Island City, Queens, will juxtapose the two mens' art and furniture in Solid Doubts: Robert Stadler at The Noguchi Museum to reveal tensions between “material” and “space,” “functional” and “aesthetic,” and "art" and "design," not-so-neat categories that nevertheless shape our understanding of object and environment. “This exhibition, the Museum’s first to feature a contemporary designer’s work in dialogue with Noguchi’s sculptures and designs, is a powerful demonstration of Noguchi’s lasting relevance," said Noguchi Museum director Jenny Dixon, in a prepared statement. "Beyond that, in pairing his work with that of the exceptional Robert Stadler, Solid Doubts opens new ways of looking at the practice of both, which is exactly what an exhibition should do." Stadler is collaborating with Noguchi senior curator Dakin Hart on four installations that feature home furnishing, lighting, sculpture, and lawn seating. Solid Doubts opens April 26 and runs through September 3, and more information on this exhibition can be found on the museum's website. In the meantime, visitors can take in the museum's latest exhibition, on displacement and belonging, which is on view through January 7, 2018.  

New exhibition uses Noguchi sculpture to explore displacement and belonging

A timely exhibition at a Queens museum shows how art reacted to state-sanctioned racism, even before Trump promised to ban all Muslims. In 1942 sculptor Isamu Noguchi left his thriving practice in New York to voluntarily imprison himself in the Arizona desert. Noguchi, who was born in Los Angeles, asked the United States government to intern him at a relocation camp in Poston, Arizona, one of ten sites where tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans were sent, against their will, during World War II. The sculptor's activism—informed by his Japanese-American identity—was ignited by the Japanese bombing of Pear Harbor. In 1942, he founded a group, Nisei Writers and Artists Mobilization for Democracy, to boost awareness of Japanese-Americans' patriotism (Nisei translates to "second generation"). Noguchi intended to humanize Poston by building swimming pools, ball fields, and creating art to showcase the patriotism of its forcibly displaced residents. Although the government was fully behind his ideas at first, it quickly became clear to Noguchi that his projects would not be realized. He initially planned to stay for two months, but it took seven months before he was released. The Noguchi Museum's Self-Interned, 1942: Noguchi in Poston War Relocation Center features over two dozen works from 1941 to 1944, pre- and post-internment. While works in the first gallery like Lily Zietz (1941) are straightforward portraiture, Yellow Landscape (1943) depicts the whole world awash in the poisonous racial animus that conditioned the camps. When interned, the sculptor worked in mostly in wood, one of the only available materials at the camp. In the final gallery, sculpture from the 1950s through the 1980s, including his signature voids and doorways, express the lasting impression Poston had on the artist. In particular, Double Red Mountain (1969) plays on the expansiveness and isolation of the Arizona desert—Poston was so remote, officials didn't think guard towers were necessary to secure the perimeter. In between the galleries, archival documents—maps of the camp, an unpublished Reader's Digest editorial detailing the camp's conditions, and Noguchi's despondent letters to officials, asking for release—contextualize the fear, hope, and despair that emerged in his work thereafter. Self-Interned was timed for the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, the directive that authorized the imprisonment of Japanese citizens and Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast. Today, when a presidential candidate can question the patriotism of a Gold Star family and still win the election, it's also an incredibly important exhibition—though curator Dakin Hart said Self-Interned was in the works long before anyone entertained the reality of President Trump. The overtly political work expresses soft fury, the product of belonging in a country which still stupidly doubts the loyalty of citizens just like Noguchi. Self-Interned, 1942: Noguchi in Poston War Relocation Center is on view through January 28, 2018.

Central Park’s Adventure Playground, designed by Richard Dattner, reopens after yearlong renovation

The Richard Dattner–designed Adventure Playground, one of New York City's most beloved recreational spaces, recently reopened after a yearlong renovation by the Central Park Conservancy. A companion Dattner park, Ancient Playground, underwent extensive renovations in 2009. Despite Ancient's ostensible claim to primacy, Adventure Playground opened in May 1967. Though the playground, at Central Park's well-trafficked West 67th Street entrance, has been popular since its unveiling, adventure playgrounds are an old idea. First conceived by modernist landscape architect C.Th. Sørensen, adventure playgrounds are quirky spaces that engender curiosity and encourages a range of passive and active recreation. In sharp contrast to mass-manufactured playsets, the playgrounds feature tree forts, mounds, tunnels, raw dirt, and water. Adventure playgrounds encourage prosocial behavior like cooperation and planning: children are given tools and materials for contributing to, and reshaping, the space. Emphasis is on calculated risk in a loosely controlled environment. The Land, Europe's newest adventure playground, permits children to use sharp tools and start fires under the watchful eyes of trained play facilitators. In Europe, adventure playgrounds incorporate more natural and found elements, while their U.S. counterparts are more designed. For his playground, Dattner was inspired by Isamu Noguchi's landforms, as well as the work of M. Paul Friedberg, one of the first architects to put the idea of "linked play" into practice. Dattner looked to Noguchi's 1933 proposal for Play Mountain, a block-long sculptural installation that could be used for sunbathing, lounging, and sledding in the wintertime. (Over 40 years later, Noguchi did get to build a playground, of a different design and scale, for Piedmont Park in Atlanta.) As part of a plaza design at the Jacob Riis Houses in the East Village, Friedberg conceived of the playground as an immersive environment, creating mounds, pyramids, and treehouses that would intrigue and engage children. In the 1960s, Central Park was a small forum for the larger fight against encroaching decay that occupied much of the city. Activists and parents, dissatisfied with the quality of the park's play spaces, agitated for the rebuilding of nine of Central Park's 18 playgrounds. With help from a Lauder Foundation grant, Dattner designed five of these. Adventure playgrounds fell out of favor as a growing culture of litigiousness prioritized safety over the risk inherent in the adventure playground's design. Consequently, the renovations align with contemporary standards of safety and accessibility, while restoring features lost over time. The renovation of Adventure Playground is part of the Central Park Conservancy's comprehensive plan to renovate or rebuild all 21 of the park's playgrounds. The grade of the maze will be changed, and railings modified or added. Tunnels that were closed in the 1970s on the conical climber will be reopened, and a new wood climber that aligns closely with the original design will be installed. The water feature will be rebuild, based on its original design. New fences are lower, integrating the playgrounds with the surrounding park. Adventure playground enthusiasts can visit the park's four other adventure playgrounds, as well as the one uptown, in Highbridge Park.

Isamu Noguchi’s space-age, fluid ceiling is hidden inside this St. Louis truck rental warehouse

In what has become a recurring irony, the poor taste of 20th century corporations has been saving the day for historic buildings across the country. Now as companies like Walgreens and CVS rehabilitate dilapidated banks into drugstores, St. Louis might be getting its first look in decades at a historic Isamu Noguchi designed ceiling hidden above a drop ceiling in what's now a U-Haul truck rental warehouse. Unbeknownst to many, what currently appears to be a clumsy brick and metal paneled warehouse at 1641 South Kingshighway Boulevard in St. Louis, is actually a gem of mid-century Modernism. The building that now holds the U-Haul storage and rental center was originally designed by St. Louis architect Harris Armstrong in 1947 as the headquarters for the Magic Chef American Stove Company. The structure was hailed as a masterpiece of International Style design, which included an ornate curvilinear lobby ceiling designed by none other than the famed Isamu Noguchi. It was not long before Magic Chef would move away and the building would become a clinic established by the Teamsters Union. Eventually left empty in the late 1960s, U-Haul, the current owners, would come to acquire the building in the late '70s. U-Haul would subsequently attempt to repair the now-decaying building and bring the space up to code, though with little-to-no mind towards preserving the aesthetics or architectural features of the building. It would be these very same inexpensive, and sometimes incomplete, fixes that would eventually be the saving grace of the building. Now, at least 20 years since a drop ceiling was added—covering the Noguchi designed ceiling—and metal paneling was added to the exterior of the building—covering its glass facade—it seems that at least some of the building will be returned to its former glory. As reported by local public radio station 90.7 KWMU, U-Haul is planning to uncover the figural ceiling in the spring of 2016. This news comes as a relief to many that remember the original space, believing the ceiling had been destroyed. And though U-Haul has made no indication that they would be restoring the entire building, this move makes it clear that the building could someday be restored. According to circuit court documents from the early '90s, it is very likely that the original windows are still under the metal paneling that now covers the building. In the 1980s, U-Haul was attempting to stop leaking windows with caulk to no avail. As an affordable solution, metal paneling was installed as a rain screen and a visual barrier into the building which holds customers’ stored items. This solution was not immediately accepted by the city’s Building Commission and Heritage Commission, and a series of hearings and appeals were held before the company was allowed to proceed with installation. The Heritage Commission called the plan no less than grotesque in their recommendation to stop the panels from being installed. "The proposed siding will create a design which is not compatible with the style and design of surrounding improvements and which is not conducive to the proper architectural development of the community. The proposed siding would also constitute an unsightly, grotesque or unsuitable structure in appearance, detrimental to the welfare of the surrounding property and residents." Though St. Louisans won’t be getting back their Modernist oven store just yet, it is encouraging that U-Haul is recognizing the worth of a designed space. With every uncovered ceiling or facade, the city gets one step closer to having a piece of its once lost architectural history back.

Jasper Morrison and Yoshio Taniguchi awarded second Isamu Noguchi Award

The Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York has bestowed its second annual Isamu Noguchi Award to designer Jasper Morrison and architect Yoshio Taniguchi. This eponymous accolade is given to professionals who, like Noguchi, are leaders in the fields of design and architecture, and “kindred spirits in innovation, global consciousness, and Japanese/American exchange,” the museum said in a statement. Noguchi, an artist and landscape architect, brought a sculptor’s touch to furniture design, creating pieces that were abstract yet functional, soaring yet minimalist. The recipients of this year’s award were selected because they demonstrate a common approach to their work and “exemplify Noguchi’s lifelong commitment to world citizenship and the practice of art with a social purpose,” stated Jenny Dixon, Director of the Noguchi Museum. Motohide Yoshikawa, the Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations, will officially present the awards to Morrison and Taniguchi on May 19, 2015 at the museum’s Spring Benefit and 20th Anniversary bash. The museum’s inaugural awards went to Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto this past May.

Inaugural Isamu Noguchi Awards Go To Norman Foster & Hiroshi Sugimoto

This week, the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York announced the inaugural Isamu Noguchi Awards to recognize like-minded spirits who share Noguchi’s commitment to innovation, global consciousness, and Japanese/American exchange. The first recipients of the award are architects Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto.     "The Isamu Noguchi Award serves to establish a dialogue with Noguchi’s profound legacy of innovation," Noguchi Museum Director Jenny Dixon said in a statement. "We are honored to celebrate Lord Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto, whose exemplary work we believe demonstrates principles similar to those that inspired Noguchi.” Motohide Yoshikawa, Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations, will present the award during a special ceremony at the Museum’s annual Spring Benefit on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.