Isamu Nogughi

It’s clear to me now that of all the artists I was exposed to early in life, it is Isamu Noguchi who influenced me the most. In the beginning it was his furniture, lighting and garden designs that took hold of my imagination. Maybe growing up with his classic coffee table at home made a deep imprint. Noguchi was extraordinarily multi-faceted and I love that he refused to be pigeonholed into either fine arts or design.

He was not satisfied to only create works for museums and private collections. Noguchi wanted his work to do more, to possess a relevance to everyday life and to influence it in some positive way by giving life and meaning to a space. His belief that “Everything is sculpture” inspired me to pursue a BFA in Industrial Design, and when I went to work at IBM after graduation I was thrilled to experience the exquisite garden that he designed for corporate headquarters in Armonk, New York.


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Born in California of a Japanese father and an American mother, Noguchi lived in Japan until the age of thirteen. He brought a Japanese sensibility to many aspects his work such as his Akari light sculptures. Nowhere is this sensibility more evident, however, than in his large-scale sculptures made of granite and basalt that are arguably his greatest sculptural achievement. On seeing those works at the Noguchi Garden Museum in Long Island City, I was overwhelmed by their power and began to appreciate his profound reverence for stone. He describes his sculpture The Stone Within like this:

“To search the final reality of stone beyond the accident of time, I seek the love of matter. The materiality of stone, its essence, to reveal its identity – not what might be imposed but something closer to its being. Beneath its skin is the brilliance of matter.”


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