Organized by independent curator Amy Wolf, this exhibition presents a comprehensive survey of Isamu Noguchi’s most important artistic relationships with influential figures in art, dance, architecture and design. These friendships and collaborations include: Arshile Gorky, Alexander Calder, Constantin Brancusi, Berenice Abbott, Frida Kahlo, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Louis Kahn, and many others. The exhibition encompasses Noguchi’s formative experiences with sculptors Gutzon Borglum and Onorio Ruotolo, his Guggenheim Fellowship in Paris in the late 1920s, an important early commission in Mexico City, design work in theatre and with industrial designers George Nelson and Florence Knoll in the 1940s and ’50s, and concludes with Noguchi’s five-year collaborative project (unrealized) with architect Louis Kahn to build a playground in New York City. In addition to pivotal works by Noguchi, the exhibition illuminates his relationships through personal photographs, exhibition-related ephemera and correspondence from The Noguchi Museum Archive, as well as sculptures, paintings and drawings by those who influenced his artistic practice. On Becoming an Artist coincides with the 25th anniversary year of The Noguchi Museum.
‘On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and His Contemporaries, 1922-1960’ is generously supported by Malcolm and Jennifer Nolen, Knoll, the Robert Lehman Foundation and, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts. The Museum also gratefully acknowledges the support of AXA Art Insurance Corporation and DeWitt Stern, Insurance and Risk Advisory.