Large format black and white photograph looking up through the Queensborough Bridge with dramatic...

A Living Mechanism:
The Noguchi Museum Staff Exhibition

June 2, 2023 – June 15, 2023

The Noguchi Museum is pleased to host an exhibition of artworks by its staff, on view to the public in the Education Studio (Level C). Curated by Orlando Lacro and Shamysia Waterman, both of whom work as gallery attendants at the Museum, the exhibition highlights the exceptional creativity of our employees, many of whom are practicing visual or performance artists in addition to their work at the Museum.

With a memory towards Isamu Noguchi’s own eagerness in collaborating with an astonishing range of other artists, architects, manufacturers, gardeners, photographers, craftspeople, and others in realizing his visions, A Living Mechanism nods to how this spirit of collective effort continues today.



Curators’ Statement
By Orlando Lacro and Shamysia Waterman

From the depth of time-consuming hardness to find the lasting and essential, by using modern tools on the oldest medium, there is an attempt to push the discovery of sculpture onward a notch.
Isamu Noguchi, The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum (1987)
  • Isamu Noguchi, 1000 Horsepower Heart, c. 1938. Plaster, paint.
    Photo: F.S. Lincoln. The Noguchi Museum Archives, 01530. ©INFGM / ARS

What inner workings in your life deserve a moment to shine?

Not one to miss a chance to learn and rise in his level of being, Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) was constantly exploring his sense of self through investigation of spatial awareness. This was made known by his ability to create artworks using a variety of tools, processes, and fellow colleagues to evoke the abstract visions that inhabited Noguchi’s conscience.

Believing in a collective effort throughout his entire career, his widespread artistic endeavors ranged from interning under Constantin Brancusi, to creating set designs for Martha Graham, to designing furniture with Herman Miller, partnering with a Japanese workhouse in the creation of Akari, and so on. As The Noguchi Museum came into creation there were many figures that were in the process such as Shoji Sadao and Masatoshi Izumi, just to name a few. Even during the later years of Noguchi’s life he became reliant on his right hand man and carving assistant, Masami Sasao, as well as Priscilla Morgan, personal manager of Noguchi who guided some of his best business decisions.

When the opportunity to create the exhibition A Living Mechanism presented itself, the initial goal was to draw inspiration from one of The Noguchi Museum’s missions to remain a place for the exploration of individual artistic endeavor and creative collaboration through exposure to Noguchi’s wide-ranging practice. Collaboration was crucial and arguably pertinent to Noguchi’s ever evolving career; by uplifting and representing the artists that aid in the functioning of the museum’s current standing, there is an embodiment of Noguchi’s ethos. As two front-facing staff curate the exhibition, there is a desire to remain current by listening and giving space to those that help support The Noguchi Museum’s existence. The conceptual approach became The Noguchi Museum as a sculpture itself, with its staff as the instruments that transform the work into a beautiful art piece. The instrument is the first step in creating an art piece, as it allows the artist to have their vision materialize right before their eyes. The instrument is in symbiosis with the art piece itself, much like the staff are an ineffable part of the museum.

Just as many instruments, artists, and friends aided in the creation of Noguchi’s works and career, many individuals with their own creative practices share a love of Noguchi and dedication to furthering his legacy. With a wide range of artists being represented, all with unique backgrounds and living experiences, we are determined to evoke an awareness we hope that other museums will gain—validating their staff as artists whose voices should be heard and represented to further transform this field into an equitable place for all who join it.

Exhibition Guide


Exhibitions at The Noguchi Museum are supported, in part, by 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.

Beverages for the opening reception of A Living Mechanism are generously provided by Lunar Hard Seltzer.