History

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The Noguchi Museum was founded and designed by internationally-renowned American artist Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), for the display of what he considered to be representative examples of his life’s work. Opened in 1985, the Museum complex was built around a 1920s industrial building, and features open-air galleries and an enclosed outdoor sculpture garden, with two floors of interior exhibition space. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens, the Museum is itself considered to be one of the artist’s greatest achievements. In building a museum, Noguchi was an early pioneer who led the metamorphosis of the Long Island City area into the arts district it is today, home to cultural institutions such as Socrates Sculpture Park, SculptureCenter, MoMA PS1, and Museum of the Moving Image, among others.
 
As a whole, the Museum provides an intimate, reflective space in which to experience Noguchi’s sculpture and design, fulfilling a vision that the artist deemed essential to his life’s work. Visitors enter the approximately 27,000-square-foot Museum through the celebrated sculpture garden. The ground-floor galleries and garden contain a permanent presentation of work curated and installed by the artist, selected from his own collection. Today, the Museum regularly presents temporary exhibitions in dialogue with these permanent installations, offering a rich, contextualized view of Noguchi’s work and his enduring influence on contemporary culture.
 
The Museum serves as a hub for Noguchi research and scholarship worldwide. In addition to housing the world’s largest collection of the artist’s works, his archives, and the Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné, the Museum organizes a full calendar of exhibitions both on- and off-site. In order to reach the broadest possible public, The Noguchi Museum offers a wide variety of education and public programs for all ages and communities, including hands-on art workshops for families, sign-language interpretation, touch tours for the blind and partially sighted, and arts education initiatives in New York City’s public schools.
 
In 2004, the private Isamu Noguchi Foundation and The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, which it operated, were consolidated into a single entity. Chartered as The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, The Noguchi Museum is a 501(c)(3) public charity; and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).
 
The Museum Shop makes available much of Noguchi’s work in design. It carries the full line of his Akari Light Sculptures, which have been in continuous handmade production in Gifu, Japan since the 1950s; and his furniture designs, including the Isamu Noguchi Table, manufactured by Herman Miller, Inc. The Shop also offers modern and contemporary furniture and design objects, publications and gifts. All proceeds support The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum’s operations and programming.

 

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02.01

Museum Timeline

Browse through major milestones and events in the Museum's history.