Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi established this museum of art and culture in 1985. The museum is in a former industrial building which has been converted to include open-air sculpture gardens and galleries that provide a reflective space to experience Noguchi's sculptures. The museum also includes an archive of over 17,000 photographs and documents related to Noguchi's career and life. Visitors will find a variety of programs at the museum, ranging from tours to educational activities for schools and families.
Backstory and Context
Isamu Noguchi was born to an American mother and Japanese father in 1904. Over the course of the 20th century, he became one of the most recognized sculptures in the world. Aside from sculptures, Noguchi created gardens, furniture, ceramics, and other art. Much of the influence for his work came from his travels across the world, including stints in Japan, China, Mexico, and Italy.
Throughout the 1930s, Noguchi's popularity in the United States rose significantly. However, it wasn't until after World War II that his iconic status was fully realized. Throughout the war, he opposed the backlash against Japanese citizens living in the United States. Noguchi was even placed in an Internment Camp at his own request. After the war, he increased his political activism as some of his work began to reflect his political views.
Noguchi founded the museum as a display for his life's work. The museum was opened in 1985, and it was designed by Noguchi himself with an interior garden. Since this museum was founded in Long Island City, it helped established an art district in the area which was followed by other popular museums soon after. The museum was designed with ten galleries and an open-air garden inside of a converted industrial building.
In 2005, the Noguchi Museum merged with the Isamu Noguchi Foundation which allowed the museum to achieve provisional status from the New York State Board of Regents. The museum currently holds the largest collection of Noguchi's works. These works are occasionally loaned out so that art can be experienced all over the world.
"History." The Noguchi Museum. Accessed Web, 5/12/17. http://www.noguchi.org/museum/history.
Noguchi, Isamu. The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum. New York, New York. Harry N. Abrams, 1999.