Isamu Noguchi working on stone sculptures in Mure

Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi’s Studio Practice

October 3, 2012 – May 12, 2013

This exhibition explores Noguchi’s working process through a handful of studios that he kept beginning in the 1940s and continuing through the Long Island City and Mure Japan studios that he split his time between until his death. The exhibition illuminates Noguchi’s practice during five studio periods over the course of his career including: the MacDougal Alley studio in New York (where he experimented with his slate and wooden interlocking sculptures in the 1940s); his Kita Kamakura studio in Japan (the origin of much of Noguchi’s brief experimentation with ceramic work in 1952); the 10th Street studio in Long Island City (his headquarters in New York for the last 25 years of his life); the Pietrasanta and Querceta studios near the Henraux quarries in Italy (where he rekindled his appreciation for direct stone carving in the mid- 1960s); and the studio at Mure, Japan (where from 1969 onward he spent half of his year working with hard stone).

Hammer, Chisel, Drill also briefly considers Noguchi’s time as an assistant in the Paris studio of Constantin Brancusi, which was critical not only as the younger artist’s first exposure to direct stone-carving, but also for its influence on the way he would set up his own studios. Photographs documenting Noguchi at work, film footage, hand- and industrial tools that Noguchi used throughout his career, and selected sculptures further illustrate his production.