Benefit 2018 Auction



The Noguchi Museum’s 2018 Spring Benefit includes its fourteenth annual silent auction. This year, the Museum is offering three exceptional works by Isamu Noguchi, Pierced Table, edition 3 of 6, and Pierced Seat, editions 5 of 12 and 6 of 12, to be auctioned individually. Proceeds directly support the Museum and its programming.

Advance bids will be accepted until 2 pm ET on Tuesday, May 22.

To make an early bid, contact Jennifer Lorch at 718.204.7088 ext 221 or [email protected]. Bidding will continue during the Spring Benefit and the winning bids will be announced at the end of the event.

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Isamu Noguchi
Pierced Table and Pierced Seat

Pierced Table and Pierced Seat, related but discrete works, are among Isamu Noguchi's final expressions of blurring and blending traditional cultural distinctions between “art” and “design.” Noguchi viewed his furniture, in much the same manner as his Akari lanterns, playgrounds, stage sets, gardens, and public installations, as far more germane to his mission of sculpting human life on Earth than any objects destined, at best, for museum pedestals.

Isamu Noguchi, Pierced Seat, 1982–84. ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York/ARS.Pierced Seat
1982–84 (fabricated 2018)
Bronze plate
31 1/4 x 14 x 16 1/4 inches
Editions 5 of 12 and 6 of 12
Estimate (for each): $60,000–$80,000
Starting bid: $50,000
Bid increment minimum of $2,500

Isamu Noguchi, Pierced Table, 1982–84. ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York/ARS.Pierced Table
1982–84 (fabricated 2018)
Bronze plate
21 3/4 x 36 7/8 x 36 3/8 inches
Edition 3 of 6
Estimate: $150,000–$200,000
Starting bid: $125,000
Bid increment minimum of $5,000

Pierced Table and Pierced Seat, both sculpture and furniture, were originally conceived in 1982–83 in galvanized steel, as part of a series for Gemini G.E.L. that was to serve as a capsule retrospective of the wide range of ideas that informed Noguchi’s work over the preceding six decades. The twenty-six titles in the series can be read as a poetic outline of Noguchi’s expansive philosophy of sculpture, touching on everything from space, to geology, dance, biomorphism, mythology, play, landscape, the human figure, and pure abstraction. The series contains something to upset, confuse, challenge, entertain, and beguile just about everyone.

Pierced Table is an adaptation of one of Noguchi’s most celebrated one-off designs, a coffee table made in fossil marble for Mr. and Mrs. Samuel C. Dretzin (1948–49). It is notable for its direct connection to Noguchi’s interlocking sculptures and the idea of object spaces formed from flat sheet materials.

Following the Gemini G.E.L. collaboration, Noguchi produced an even larger series of works in bronze plate and Muntz metal that included Pierced Table and Pierced Seat. The bronze plate versions of the table and seat were based directly on the galvanized steel editions. The choice of bronze was a winking move back in the direction of the fine arts, with a twist: the pieces are not cast but fabricated—cut, folded, and welded from bronze plate. Like so many of Noguchi's design decisions, the choice is subtle but decisive. Crisp, smooth, flat, and regular—like the tempered plate-glass he used for the unique A. Conger Goodyear and iconic, mass-produced Herman Miller tables—the material provides a distinctly industrial baseline for works otherwise defined by their distinct biomorphism. Noguchi, who didn’t believe in reproduction, called his editions multiple productions rather than copies.

While the galvanized steel examples were produced in editions of 18 (Pierced Table) and 36 (Pierced Seat), those in bronze plate are in editions of six and twelve respectively, making them far rarer. The other extant examples of the works offered at the Noguchi Museum’s Spring Benefit—two tables and four chairs—are in the collection of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum. Edition number three of Pierced Table and edition numbers five and six of Pierced Seat will be individually auctioned.

Photographs depict Pierced Table and Pierced Seat editions from the The Noguchi Museum’s collection, not the edition numbers being auctioned. Photos: Kevin Noble. © INFGM / ARS.

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