About The Noguchi Museum
Founded in 1985 by category-defying artist Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum (now known as The Noguchi Museum), was the first museum in the United States to be established, designed, and installed by a living artist to show their own work. Located in Long Island City, Queens, the Museum itself is widely viewed as among the artist’s greatest achievements.
Holding the world’s largest collection of his works, it features open air and indoor galleries in a repurposed 1920s industrial building and a serene outdoor sculpture garden. Consistent with Noguchi’s interest in art being experiential, works are often displayed without barriers or interpretation to encourage visitors to form personal and introspective connections.
Accompanying the permanent installations placed by Noguchi, the Museum presents temporary exhibitions exploring themes in Noguchi’s work, his milieu and collaborators, and his enduring influence today among contemporary practitioners across disciplines. It exhibits a comprehensive selection of Noguchi’s material culture, from sculpture, models, and drawings, to his personal possessions, and manages the artist’s archives and catalogue raisonné. Through its rich collection, exhibitions, and programming, the Museum facilitates scholarship and learning for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Isamu Noguchi established his studio in Long Island City in 1961. By 1974, Noguchi also purchased an abandoned factory building and vacant lot across the street, and over the following decade transformed these derelict spaces into an oasis for the display of his life’s work. In 1980, Noguchi renamed his Akari Foundation as the Isamu Noguchi Foundation in anticipation of the Museum’s creation. The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum officially opened to the public on May 11, 1985. Learn more about the making of the Museum here.
Seasonal until 1999, significant renovations of the main building were completed in 2004 and the Museum has been open to the public year-round since. 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).
Mission & Vision
The mission of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum is to advance the understanding and appreciation of Isamu Noguchi’s art and legacy.
The broad scope of Isamu Noguchi’s artistic interests and his creation of a Museum devoted to encouraging the enjoyment and contemplation of these same interests provides us with the challenge to protect and further the legacy of his vision. Our efforts will continue to reflect this vision and will extend it into the future.
The intimacy of Noguchi’s design of the Museum is a fundamental and exceptional part of the visitor experience. The importance of maintaining the character of The Noguchi Museum, even as we grow in programming capacity and in public recognition, cannot be overemphasized.
The Museum will remain a place for the exploration of individual artistic endeavor and creative collaboration through exposure to Noguchi’s wide-ranging practice. Through an active exhibition and public programming schedule, coupled with ongoing education, preservation, and research projects, the Museum will continue to illuminate the enduring influence of Noguchi in dialogue with contemporary culture.
The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
The Museum’s education programs are supported by the Windgate Foundation Art Education Fund, endowed with a major gift by the Windgate Foundation. The Museum also gratefully acknowledges the lead support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, The J.M. Kaplan Fund, and an anonymous donor. Additional support is provided by Con Edison and the SMBC Global Foundation, Inc., as well as the generosity of numerous individual donors.