FUTURA2000 holds his hand-painted Akari UF4-L6, partially folded. The surface of the tall vertical...

Futura Akari

November 11, 2020 – February 28, 2021

Occupying the Museum’s former Shop (which is temporarily relocated and expanded in the lower-level studio for social distancing), this installation presents a group of Akari light sculptures designed by Isamu Noguchi from 1952–86 and hand painted by FUTURA2000 in 2020. It also includes two cosmic paintings, one of which, El Diablo, is a classic work from 1985.

Isamu Noguchi intended Akari light sculptures to be modular, customizable, and extensible. In his lifetime, he designed more than 200 models, but the possible permutations of base, shade, and extension rod make Akari an essentially limitless ecosystem. This openness extended to a benefit sale of hand-painted Akari by twenty-nine artists, including Noguchi himself, held at Galerie Steph Simon, Paris, in 1970.

A pioneer when graffiti met the art world, FUTURA2000 was known as early as the 1970s for his radical approach in the street, introducing abstraction to a primarily letter-based discipline. Entirely self-taught in what he calls “the subway school,” his works on canvas caught gallery attention in the 1980s, concurrent with Noguchi’s final efforts to put Akari at the center of his sculptural legacy. Working across canvas, paper, sculpture, photography, graphic design, large-scale mural work, and his commercial practice and product brand Futura Laboratories, Futura, like Noguchi, is an open-to-the-world boundary crosser. He has been compared to Wassily Kandinsky for his mastery of color, geometric composition, and line—and is celebrated alongside his friends Dondi White and Rammellzee for his progressiveness and of-the-moment dynamism. 

Coinciding with Futura Akari at The Noguchi Museum is Futura 2020 (October 22–December 23, 2020) at Eric Firestone Gallery, the first solo gallery show for the artist in New York City in over 30 years; and the release of the publication FUTURA: The Artist’s Monograph (Rizzoli, 2020).

  • FUTURA2000 with Akari 10A. Photo: Miss Wangy

 

Futura Akari is 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 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.