Toshiko Takaezu

Toshiko Takaezu: Worlds Within

March 20, 2024 – July 28, 2024

On the centennial anniversary of the birth of artist Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011), The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum announced its forthcoming major touring retrospective and monograph centered on her work and life. This will be the first nationally touring retrospective of Takaezu’s work in over twenty years. To coincide with the exhibition, the Museum will publish a new monograph in association with Yale University Press. Also titled Toshiko Takaezu: Worlds Within, it represents the most ambitious monograph on an American ceramic artist to date.

The retrospective is organized by The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum with assistance from the Toshiko Takaezu Foundation and the Takaezu family. It is co-curated by art historian Glenn Adamson, Noguchi Museum Curator Kate Wiener, and composer and sound artist Leilehua Lanzilotti. The exhibition was conceived and developed with former Noguchi Museum Senior Curator Dakin Hart. The show at The Noguchi Museum will feature approximately 200 works from private and public collections around the country. Following its presentation at The Noguchi Museum, the exhibition will travel to several additional venues across the United States.

  • Toshiko Takaezu with moons, 1979. Photo: Hiro. Toshiko Takaezu Archives. © Family of Toshiko Takaezu

Exhibition

Featuring approximately 200 objects from public and private collections across the country, Toshiko Takaezu: Worlds Within will present a comprehensive portrait of Takaezu’s life and work. This chronological retrospective will chart the development of Takaezu’s hybrid practice over seven decades, documenting her early student work in Hawai‘i and at the Cranbrook Academy through her years teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Art and later at Princeton University. To represent this evolution, the show will present a series of installations loosely inspired by ones that Takaezu created in her own lifetime: from a set table of functional wares from the early 1950s to an immersive constellation of monumental ceramic forms from the late 1990s to early 2000s.

The exhibition will include a vast collection of ceramic sculptures including her signature “closed forms,” Moons, Garden Seats, Trees, and select monumental works from her late masterpiece, the Star Series. It will also feature a broad selection of her vibrant and gestural acrylic paintings and weavings, many of which have rarely been seen, as well as a bronze bell. Sound will also play an important role in this exhibition as many of Takaezu’s closed ceramic forms contain unseen “rattles.”

The exhibition will include a range of videos, programs, and an interactive installation that will allow visitors to explore these interior soundscapes firsthand. Composer, sound artist, and exhibition co-curator Leilehua Lanzilotti (finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in music) is developing a concert program, a stand-alone video installation, and a series of demonstration videos centered on the hidden element of sound in Takaezu’s works.

 

This exhibition would not have been possible without the leadership support of the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Henry Luce Foundation.

Major support for this project has been received from the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, along with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and from Fitzhugh and Lyndsay Caleo Karol and the Sands Family Foundation. Additional support comes from Jill Fishon-Kovachick, Japan–United States Friendship Commission, the LEF Foundation, Peter Russo, and the Takaezu Family. 

The Museum also gratefully acknowledges the support of Dan and Caroline Anderson, Naomi Andrée Campbell, Vincent, Pearl, & Tom Cioffi, Pernille Ægidius Dake, James Dion, Don Fletcher and Carla Romeo, Ben Fox, halley k harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, the Hella and Scott McVay Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, Jeffrey Spahn Gallery, Mark and Elizabeth Levine, Linda Leonard Schlenger Revocable Trust, Jeffrey Munger and Robert Whitman, Frank Paluch, Phillips Auctioneers, the Princeton Area Community Foundation, Patricia A. Young & Michael E. Young, and an anonymous donor. Research for this project was supported by a Craft Research Fund grant from the Center for Craft. The Museum also acknowledges the support of Bill Baumbach, Sandy and Lou Grotta, Russell S. Kokubun, Dana and Gregory Lee, George Lindemann, Arlene and Grant Merritt, Michael Peck, Peter Held Art Appraisals & Associates, Ted Rowland, Martha Russo, June Sakata, Elizabeth Shaw, and JJ Strouse, as well as the generosity of numerous individual donors.

This project is also 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.