On January 13th, a few WHSAD students attended the Noguchi Museum along with our 11th grade architecture teachers.
History – Artist and The Museum
Located in Long Island City, Queens the Noguchi Museum is home to the sculptures of Isamu Noguchi who also founded the Museum in 1985. He was the first living artist in the U.S. to design a museum that featured only his work. Noguchi had anticipated having his sculptures be displayed in museums across the city, but the museums were unwilling to show all his work, so he decided to form his own museum.
Though the sole purpose of the museum was to showcase Noguchi’s work, it was also to challenge the idea of how we view sculptures. What often comes to mind when we think of a sculpture is clay or plastic three dimensional artworks, but Noguchi had a different approach. He used rocks and other natural materials.
When we arrived, we were all a little skeptical. The building matched the other surrounding buildings, and it didn’t feel like a museum at all. I was unsure of what to expect since I had little to no prior knowledge of the museum or what it offered to its viewers. When we walked in, I was blown away. It was beautiful, to say the least. The reception area alone did it for me. It had a window overlooking the garden and it looked so peaceful. That’s how I felt when we entered the garden which was filled with other sculptures. Despite it being winter, the garden still displayed beauty. It probably would look even more lively with all the trees filled with leaves, but the sculptures filled that hole. This was one of the reasons why the museum opened seasonally. A garden doesn’t reach its full potential unless it has the right conditions for it to shine.
My favorite sculptures were probably “Break Through Capestrano”, “Illusion of the Fifth Rock”, and “Floor Frame (Remembering India)”. They all caught my attention and stuck with me. I did some research on them, and now I honestly feel like I enjoyed them even more.
“Break through Capestrano”
Isamu was inspired by a sculpture he saw at an archaeological museum in Chieti, Italy. It made him feel a sense of joy, and he wanted to display that same energy with this piece. “Discovery is a breakthrough”. Every time I learn something new and I understand it, I feel like I can accomplish more. It motivates me and it’s why I appreciate and enjoy this statement & sculpture.
“Illusion Of the Fifth Rock”
When you first glance at this sculpture, you might think it’s only four rocks compacted together but if you take a look around, you’ll discover it’s actually five rocks. Nugochi believed that just stacking racks on top of each other was not enough for them to be considered a sculpture. He wanted to keep the rock’s conditions while still closely compacting them together to form unity. It was what he thought a sculpture was to be.
“Floor Frame (Remembering India)”
For all of Isamu’s artwork there are no descriptions and for this piece I made my own up. I love that freedom that he gave us, the viewers. My interpretation is that there will always be things in life that are hidden. We don’t know anything but we can only wonder.
Mr. Crockford and Ms. Moos did provide us with information about the artist beforehand but it did little justice for the museum itself because there was so much information and artworks to unpack from the stone sculptures to the lamp designs. To conclude, the visit was unlike anything I’ve experienced. Most museums don’t offer a full garden that incorporates nature into its art. I’m very happy that I got to share the experience with my peers, it was fun. I enjoyed every little part of it.