Isamu Noguchi working on Small Practices, small sculpture of two Aji granite stones

Salvaged Time

February 23, 2022 – May 15, 2022

In the first decades of his career, Isamu Noguchi often settled for discounted and offcast stone specimens found at suppliers along the East River, instilling a fundamental regard for the quirks and imperfections in individual stones that carried over to the coveted Italian marble and Japanese granite he was able to procure later. The symbolic aspects of stone’s sedimentary make-up—its “congealment” of time, as Noguchi phrased it—appealed to him, as did the visual evidence of human contact from the quarrying process. Noguchi considered the full life of a stone in his sculpture, leading him to find expressive potential in repurposed fragments and other remainders.

Curated by Matthew Kirsch, this installation in The Noguchi Museum’s Area 6 surveys some of Noguchi’s recontextualizing impulses and also encourages visitors to look anew at details found throughout the Museum, including salvaged Japanese pine bases, reworked core pieces, offcut ends, Aji granite practice stones, slab pedestals, and his series of Variations on a Millstone.

Digital Feature

  • Henraux Quarry, Monte Altissimo, Italy. c. 1970–80. Photo: Arnold Eagle. The Noguchi Museum Archives, 07303. ©INFGM/ARS
  • Mure, Shikoku, Japan. 1969–88. Photo: Isamu Noguchi. The Noguchi Museum Archives, 07363. ©INFGM/ARS

Expanding on the themes of the exhibition, curator Matthew Kirsch explores how Noguchi’s search for expressive potential in the full life of stone can be found in his creative repurposing. 

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Exhibition Brochure

Curator’s Tour

Salvaged Time video tour

Directed & Edited by Alex Meillier
Produced by Ager Meillier Films Inc.



Salvaged Time 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 the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.