Akari 9AY
Isamu Noguchi, Akari 9AY. Photo: Kevin Noble. ©INFGM / ARS

Early Patterns: Reintroducing Akari of the 1950s

Sunday, May 21, 2023
11 am–6 pm
The Noguchi Museum Shop

The Noguchi Museum Shop will present six rare models of Akari light sculptures designed by Isamu Noguchi in the early 1950s, and make these designs available for sale in North America for the first time in decades, coinciding with NYCxDesign week.

The six Akari, produced by their original manufacturer Ozeki & Co., Ltd. in Gifu, Japan, are tabletop scale and feature lacquered bamboo collars (wa), directly relating them to more traditional forms of the Japanese lantern but with Noguchi’s signature departures. Five of the six Akari feature colorful, abstract patterns silk-screened onto the mulberry bark (washi) paper.

These early designs for Akari were first shown in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura, in 1952, and at the Chuo Koron Gallery, Tokyo, in 1954. In the decades following, these particular models became available only in limited quantities in Japan and France, until now, as The Noguchi Museum expands its offerings to showcase the entire range of what remains in production of Noguchi’s iconic light sculptures.

The presentation in the Museum Shop, from May 17–28, will be the public’s first opportunity to view the works in-person and purchase them prior to their availability online, and will also include archival materials related to the history of Akari. The Noguchi Museum Shop is open Wednesdays–Sundays, 11 am–6 pm.

Early 1950s Akari with colorful, abstract screen printed surface designs
Isamu Noguchi’s Akari light sculptures on display in Akari: Lamps by Isamu Noguchi, Chuo Koron Gallery, Tokyo, August 2–7, 1954. The Noguchi Museum Archives, 07137. ©INFGM / ARS