Two shows at the Noguchi Museum in New York City explore the legacy of Isamu Noguchi's Akari "light sculptures" by highlighting classics from the artist and designer's oeuvre alongside more recent work by the French design studio YMER&MALTA. The shows, which were originally scheduled to close in January, have been given an extended run and will be open through May 5, 2019. Fans of Noguchi's work will recognize his signature lamps made of bamboo, wood, and paper that expand on traditional Japanese craftwork. The show focusing on his work, Akari: Sculpture by Other Means, aims to give visitors new perspectives by installing Noguchi's creations in the kind of immersive environments that have been especially popular recently both for their experiential quality and Instagrammable potential. Akari Unfolded: A Collection by YMER&MALTA displays 26 lamps that riff on Akari and Noguchi's work, bringing his spirit of exploration in traditional craft and materials into the 21st century.
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This summer, New York City is launching a new program to explore the city and save money. If you are a Brooklyn, New York, or Queens Public Library Cardholder aged 13 or older, you can reserve a Culture Pass to gain free access to more than 30 cultural institutions, including “museums, historical societies, heritage centers, public gardens and more.” Reservations should be made ahead of time, and a limited number of passes are available on each date. Here is a list of participating organizations: Brooklyn: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, New York Transit Museum Manhattan: Children’s Museum of the Arts, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, The Drawing Center, The Frick Collection, Historic Richmond Town, International Center of Photography, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library & Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Museum of Chinese in America, Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Museum of Modern Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Society of Illustrators, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, Whitney Museum of American Art Bronx: Wave Hill Queens: Louis Armstrong House, Noguchi Museum, Queens Historical Society, Queens Museum, SculptureCenter Staten Island: Historic Richmond Town, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art Check out this link for more details.
At The Architect’s Newspaper, we’re plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through “Inkwell” or “Ludwig” filters, but there’s also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they’re documenting the built environment, and where they’ve traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram account here.) A new exhibit on the historical iterations and potential of scaffolding went up at the Center for Architecture, and Shohei Shigematsu of OMA was the exhibition's lead designer. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZmIjN-hQh0/?taken-by=centerforarch A short hop across the East River, the Noguchi Museum is gearing up for the October 25 opening of Gonzalo Fonseca's architectural sculptures, many carved from stone. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ1f0wpHH1F/?taken-by=noguchimuseum SO-IL's Florian Idenburg paid a visit to a panopticon prison in Haarlem, Netherlands called Kijk in de Koepel. His visit was timed perfectly with two news bits that had us chuckling this week: One upsettingly real (Jeremy Bentham's literal severed head displayed in an upcoming exhibit), and the other pure satire (meet Synergon). https://www.instagram.com/p/BZoAOCVn8AC/?taken-by=florianidenburg Andrés Jaque, founder of Office for Political Innovation, posted the opening of his new exhibit titled Transmaterial Politics, which opened at Tabacalera Madrid on September 28. Poppy and probing as always. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZpq6FJAz4E/?taken-by=andres_jaque MAD Architects threw us back to their Ordos Museum in inner Mongolia, a mass of organic and rigid forms cloaked under an undulating shell of metal tiles. Without wanting to, we will imagine it springing to life at night and prowling the Gobi Desert under a shrouded moon, much like Gehry museums (wherever they live). https://www.instagram.com/p/BZnkPdyFNdq/?taken-by=madarchitects Geoff Manaugh, author of BLGBLOG, visited the extremely Instagrammable Mirage by Douglas Aitken in the California Desert which is clad with mirrors both inside and out. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ4WEW5j_M1/?taken-by=bldgblog The DesignPhiladelphia conference shared their city's redeveloped Navy Yards, landscaped by James Corner Field Operations. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZy-YJzF9WA/?taken-by=designphilly This last one is short and sweet, and we tell you this only because of the crushing guilt that would consume us otherwise. Winka Dubbeldam ate a grasshopper. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ0lE02BVh9/?taken-by=winkadub That’s it for today, hashtag archilovers and quote-on-quote gallerinas. See you next week for more drama.
Collective Design opened today for its fifth fair focused on 20th- and 21st-century design with 28 exhibitors. Founded by architect and interior designer Steven Learner specifically for the design and architectural community, the fair will host galleries, designers, and commercial brands from May 3 to May 7. The design world continues to be enraptured by surrealism and, as a result, bright colors and fantastical forms reigned throughout. Paris-based Swiss designer, Mattia Bonetti’s work was highlighted as the Collective Influence installation that included Bonetti’s riotous sofa and Seussical-style lamp and side table. Just around the corner, R & Company touted the new generation of maximal whimsy with pieces by the Haas Brothers, Katie Stout, and Porky Hefer. More and more, companies are integrating technology to take the possibility of designs to new heights. At Collective, Othr’s 3-D printed works and Flavor Paper’s use of water-based conductive ink make a strong showing. Othr’s Vanguard Series took advantage of 3-D printing (Othr 3-D prints all of its wares, partnering with designers to create its pieces) by having Murray Moss, Annabelle Selldorf, Felix Burrichter, Christian Larsen, and India Mahdavi each nominate an emerging designer to create a piece for Othr. As a result, Egg Collective, GT2P, Ania Jaworska, Marie-Victoire Winckler, and Chen Chen and Kai Williams all created stunning vessels in a variety of 3-D printed porcelain, steel, and bronze. Flavor Paper presented Conduct, a playful immersive installation that demonstrated the ability of wallpaper to transfer energy. Flavor Paper founder Jon Sherman discovered water-based conductive ink two years ago and partnered with UM Project to help display its potential. By pressing dots on the wallpaper, one can activate lights, sound, and movement in the installation. Other highlights included new iterations of Apparatus’s, Stickbulb’s, and Calico Wallpaper’s offerings from Milan Design Week, as well as the Noguchi Museum’s Waiting Room installation of Robert Stadler and Isamu Noguchi’s works, which coincides with an exhibition at the museum (far, far away in Queens). Thanks to Collective Design’s manageable size (one can easily navigate the entire show in under two hours), and fresh offerings, it will undoubtedly be a popular stop on this month’s design circuit.
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.
"I had seen this film by Tony Richardson about a monastery in the mountains. It was really beautiful watching Zen Buddhist monks meditating and practicing martial arts," John Pawson told me. "I went to the monastery and they let me in. I spent one night there and that was quite enough." Pawson is an architect from Britain. This month he was named as one of the winners of the 2017 Isamu Noguchi Award, alongside Japanese painter Hiroshi Senju. The prize is issued by the Noguchi Museum, which can be found in Long Island City, Queens, and was set up by Japanese-American sculptor, Isamu Noguchi. According to a press release, the award is given to individuals "who share Noguchi’s spirit of innovation, global consciousness, and commitment to East/West cultural exchange." The Architect's Newspaper spoke to Pawson who discussed his influences and what the award means to him. "For me, Japan was a defining experience. I went when I was 24 and only started practicing when I was in my early 30s, which is quite late to become an architect," Pawson said. He went to school at Eton but didn't get the results he wanted. "I left and went on what you would now call on a gap year, traveling around Asia. I was never going to go to university or college. Then my father got a bit fed up with me wandering around the world and said there wouldn't be any place for me in the company if I didn't come back." Pawson's father was in the textile industry and his parents' taste influences his work. "Texture is a very important thing for me when designing, as well as, of course, key things such as quality of light, space, and proportion," he said. "The texture of the materials you use are really important because they comprise the detail in which physical space is realized. My parents had a contradictory attitude towards things: Dad was always interested in identifying what was the best of everything, whether it be the finest wine or the best breed of dog or car. For my mother, however, modesty was very important and she enjoyed the simple and well made; representations of what was necessary but nothing more. I suppose I am a bit of both of those." Working with his father, however, didn't work out. Pawson wanted to travel again, wooed by a certain Tony Richardson film on monks. "I thought, being rather childish, oh well, I will go out to Japan and I'll be one of those guys. It was just that schoolboy thing where you thought you could be James Bond... or a Buddhist Monk." Pawson lasted barely half a day at the monastery. "I had come straight from London in the beginning of January and it was cold... and they never explain anything! I was polishing floor for about three or four hours after which I was given a bowl of rice. The way you learn there, and indeed in Japan, is by example. Here, I would have been polishing the floor for a year and this didn't square with my immediate path to enlightenment." Despite the setback to his goals of enlightenment, Pawson stayed in Japan, spending time in Nagoya in the Chūbu region of the country. There he met the esteemed late designer, Shiro Kuramata through renowned Japanese architect Masayuki Kurokawa, who acted as a translator. "The one thing I learned from Kuramata was how serious design is and what hard work it is and that you just have to keep going, banging away at it until you've cracked it." Pawson's Japanese wasn't the best and Kuramata's English was even worse. As a result, dialogue occurred through other means, such as sketching. "He loved touching and looking at things. I showed him a drawing and without commenting he took it over and started sketching." After four years, though, Pawson's time in Japan had come to an end. "I didn't learn Japanese properly, four years was the limit. Unless I was going to learn the language properly I was never going to settle down there... Kuramata told me to stop hanging around his studio and go and learn architecture myself. He thought I should be designing and doing my own architecture and not just studying his." Pawson then went to study at the Architectural Association in London upon Kuramata's recommendation. This, too, didn't go to plan and Pawson, 30, quit after two years. His design ethos, however, was beginning to flourish. "At the beginning, people always thought I would go mad," he said. "For me, the underlying approach and way of thinking hasn't changed, only the vocabulary has changed. In every project you learn something new and that colors how you approach your next work." Nineteen years after his first encounter with monks, Pawson found work with a group of Cistercian monks who were interested in him designing a monastery in the Czech Republic. "The Abbot of the monastery and three monks came to visit me in the office," Pawson recounted. "It was quite tense as they were hoping that I would agree to do the monastery for them and I was tense thinking about if they would offer it to me or not. We both wanted the same thing!" To quell the scenario, Pawson invited them to his London home for a cup of tea, only to end up offering them some Chablis, which he recalls, "they were very relieved to have." More relaxed, the monks were intrigued by Pawson's style, noting his stone floors and lack of soft furnishings. One of the monks asked: "don't you think it's a bit austere for us?" "I don't know whether I laughed or cried," Pawson said. "You can't get more minimal than monks, they're the perfect client." Pawson recognizes the cross-cultural impact in his life, particularly in the realm of design, something which falls between the crosshairs of the Noguchi Museum's mission. "What was so extraordinary about Noguchi is that he covered everything," he said. "[Noguchi] was an architect, artist, designer, landscaper, and for somebody that bridged the American/Japanese gap, I think it's extraordinary to be in any way associated with him." The Noguchi Award will be presented at the Noguchi Museum's Annual Benefit on May 16, 2017.
May is around the corner, and with it comes the fifth edition of the Collective Design fair, occurring May 3 through May 7 as part of NYCxDESIGN. The event will be at The High Line’s former southernmost terminal, Skylight Clarkson Sq, a “horizontal skyscraper” spanning three city blocks in West SoHo. As if the venue wasn’t interesting enough, Collective Design has now announced several installations to christen the space. Following in the footsteps of last year’s Glacial Drift by Brooklyn-based The Principals, The LAB at Rockwell Group has designed a 40-foot-long “blue carpet” that passes through a glittering tunnel as the fair's entrance. The in-house design innovation studio found inspiration for the experience in the red carpets of Hollywood and their choreography and their promises of excitement. “Our goal was to create an entry experience that plays with the theatrical moment of the red carpet, and also blurs digital technology with a physical structure,” said Melissa Hoffman, studio leader at The LAB, Rockwell Group’s in-house design innovation studio. “We ended up transforming the typical entry experience into a shimmering, seductive structure immersed in Collective’s signature blue color.” The tunnel will be fabricated by Brooklyn-based The Factory NYC, built from plywood ribs cut on a CNC router. The structure will then be clad entirely in mylar foil fringe, which will give the tunnel its glamorous shimmer. The passage will also expand and contract, giving it the illusion that it is breathing and adding a touch of other-worldliness to the grand entrance. After traipsing through the breathing blue tunnel, visitors will experience another kind of living corridor: an indoor classical garden designed by Brook Klausing of Brook Landscape. The installation will feature raw timbers from the Rockaway Boardwalk, salvaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and select pieces from Natural Workshop, a collaboration of Klausing and Brian Green, who is launching a new product line this spring. Other installations include The Noguchi Museum’s Waiting Room: Noguchi/Stadler, an exhibition of Isamu Noguchi’s work alongside designer Robert Stadler, which mimics the strangeness of waiting spaces and “public and private forms of standing-by.” Huniford Design Studio, led by James Huniford, will be furnishing the VIP Lounge for the fair, showcasing furniture from the Huniford Collection, a luxury furniture line from the designer launching this spring. Also making an appearance is Stickbulb, a handmade lighting brand that utilizes sustainably sourced and reclaimed wood. They will be installing a limited-edition piece made from reclaimed redwood planks salvaged during the demolition of New York City water towers. Alongside the announcements of these exciting installations, Collective Design also announced the addition of several major partners for 2017: The Museum of Arts and Design, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Open House New York, The Architectural League of New York, Royal Academy of Art (RCA) in London, New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), School of Visual Art (SVA), and Bard Graduate Center (BCG). With the announcement of these installations and additions to the fair, May is shaping up to be an inspiring and exciting month for the New York City design community. You can find more information about the Collective Design fair here and more information regarding NYCxDESIGN’s many festivities here.
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.
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.
The Noguchi Museum has named architect Tadao Ando and artist Elyn Zimmerman recipients of the 2016 Isamu Noguchi Award. The award, given annually since 2014, recognizes practitioners who "share Noguchi’s spirit of innovation, global consciousness, and East-West exchange." The awards will be presented during the Noguchi Museum’s Spring Benefit in May. Like Noguchi, Ando incorporates natural elements into his designs, and shapes space with humble materials like concrete. Among many notable commissions, his Osaka-baed practice, Tadao Ando Architects & Associates, designed the Pulitzer Arts Foundation building in St. Louis, Missouri (2001), the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2002), and the Punta Della Dogana Contemporary Art Center, Venice (2009). Ando received the Pritzker Prize in 1995. Zimmerman is known for her site-specific stone installations that play on water and light. Her public commissions include the Sculpture Garden at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama (1993), a pool and granite sculpture, for the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. (1980), as well as Suspended Arcs, a commission for the Beijing Olympics (2008). In 2015, the award was granted to industrial designer Jasper Morrison and architect Yoshio Taniguchi. Norman Foster and artist Hiroshi Sugimoto claimed the honor in its inaugural year.
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.
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.