2023 Benefit and Isamu Noguchi Award

September 12, 2023

The Isamu Noguchi Award, statue shaped like Noguchi’s Red Cube
The Isamu Noguchi Award. Photo: Don Stahl. ©INFGM / ARS

On Tuesday, September 12, 2023, The Noguchi Museum will host its annual benefit gala and presentation of the Isamu Noguchi Award. Marking its landmark tenth year, the 2023 Isamu Noguchi Award will recognize artist and writer Edmund de Waal, artist Theaster Gates, and novelist and editor Hanya Yanagihara.

The Noguchi Museum’s annual benefit raises essential funds to support its exhibitions, research, and programming, and the care of its renowned collection.

For more information, contact Melissa Gatz at benefit@noguchi.org or 718.204.7088 ext 229.

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The Isamu Noguchi Award

Established in 2014 and presented annually, The Isamu Noguchi Award perpetuates Noguchi’s legacy by acknowledging highly accomplished individuals who share his spirit of innovation, unbounded imagination, and uncompromising commitment to creativity. The Award celebrates individuals from around the world, across various disciplines, whose works demonstrate the highest level of artistic integrity marked by fearless experimentation and a preoccupation with cross-cultural dialogue and exchange. Honoring individuals whose work exhibits qualities of artistic excellence that are shared with Noguchi, the Award also recognizes work that carries significant social consciousness and function.

2023 Honorees

Edmund de Waal
Photo: Tom Jamieson

Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal (b. 1964, Nottingham) is an internationally acclaimed artist and writer, best known for his large-scale installations of porcelain vessels, often created in response to collections and archives or the history of a particular place. His interventions have been made for diverse spaces and museums worldwide, including Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire; the Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris; The British Museum, London; The Frick Collection, New York; Ateneo Veneto, Venice; Schindler House, Los Angeles; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna and V&A Museum, London. De Waal is also renowned for his bestselling family memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010), and The White Road (2015). His most recent book, Letters to Camondo, a series of haunting letters written during lockdown, was published in April 2021. He was awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction by Yale University in 2015. In 2021 he was awarded a CBE for his services to art. He lives and works in London.


Theaster Gates
Photo: Rankin Photography

Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates (b. 1973, Chicago) is an artist and social innovator who lives and works in Chicago. Over the past decade, Gates has translated the intricacies of Blackness through space theory and land development, sculpture, and performance. Through the expansiveness of his approach as a thinker, maker, and builder, he extends the role of the artist as an agent of change. His performance practice and visual work find roots in Black knowledge, objects, history, and archives.

Gates has exhibited and performed at The New Museum, New York, (2022); The Aichi Triennial, Tokoname (2022); The Serpentine Pavilion, London (2022); The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2021); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013 and 2021); Tate Liverpool, UK (2020); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2019); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2019); Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan (2016); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2016); Punta della Dogana, Venice (2013); and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012).

In 2010, Gates created the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit platform for art, cultural development, and neighborhood transformation that supports artists and strengthens communities through free arts programming and innovative cultural amenities in the Grand Crossing neighborhood of the South Side of Chicago.

Gates is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees including the Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts (2022); an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects (2021); the World Economic Forum Crystal Award (2020); J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development (2018); Nasher Sculpture Prize (2018); Sprengel Museum Kurt Schwitters Prize (2017); and Artes Mundi 6 Prize (2015).

In April 2018, Gates was appointed as the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artist Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art, Colby College, Waterville Maine. He was the Visiting Artist in Residence at the American Academy in Rome (2020); and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2021. Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and serves as the Special Advisor to the President for Arts Initiatives.


Hanya Yanagihara
Photo: Jenny Westerhoff

Hanya Yanagihara

Hanya Yanagihara (b. Los Angeles) is the author of three novels: The People in the Trees (2013), A Little Life (2015), and To Paradise (2022). Her work has been published in more than thirty languages, and has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and the Andrew Carnegie Medal, among others, and has won the Kirkus Award. Yanagihara lives in New York, where she is the editor in chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine.

Isamu Noguchi Award Honorees