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2024 Artist Banners

Isamu Noguchi working with clay in his earthen-walled studio in Kita-Kamakura, Japan
Isamu Noguchi working in his Kita-Kamakura studio, 1950s. The Noguchi Museum Archives, 09162.2. ©INFGM / ARS

Work is something like having a conversation with oneself–a personal soliloquy in which through argument and trial you try to nail something down–express the inexplicable. You can’t tell quite what’s going to happen when you start, but then after the work is done recognition comes: certain things affect you; and then you recognize that the work is really yourself.

Isamu Noguchi, interview with Katherine Kuh, The Artist’s Voice (New York: Harper & Row, 1962)

The Noguchi Museum continues to celebrate and amplify creative voices in our local Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities with the third annual Open Call for Artist Banners. As an institution founded by Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi, The Noguchi Museum stands in solidarity with AAPI communities and any community targeted by discrimination, oppression, or racism. This year, the Museum invited emerging AAPI artists based in New York City to submit designs for the Museum’s outdoor banners addressing the theme of “labor and love.”

2024 Artist Banner finalists
The Noguchi Museum’s 2024 Open Call for Artist Banners finalists, from left to right: David Huang (winner), Jacqueline Qiu, and Derek Zheng (runners-up). Photo: Evan Scott ©INFGM / ARS

The jury was pleased to select David Huang’s Hands Toward the Universe as the winning submission, and designs by Jacqueline Qiu and Derek Zheng as runners-up. Huang’s designs will be installed on the Museum’s outdoor banners for one year, from May 2024 until May 2025.

Each of the three artists receives an honorarium and the opportunity to develop and lead a public program at The Noguchi Museum in collaboration with the Museum’s Education department during free admission Community Days in the summer of 2024 (Saturdays, June 8, July 13, and August 10). Please contact with any questions.

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Winning Proposal

David Huang
Hands Toward the Universe

David Huang, Hands Toward the Universe, 2024

Artist Statement

My name is David Huang, and I’m an illustrator based in South Brooklyn. I’m a queer Taiwanese migrant from Taiwan who came to the U.S. at the age of 14. In my work, I like to use textures, colors, and composition to express my ideas on paper.

As a visual artist, I often ponder the connection between my identity and my creations. A quote by Louise Bourgeois that deeply resonates with me is, ‘I am not what I am, I am what I do with my hands.’ In this context, I perceive the act of creating as a form of self-exploration, digging deeper within ourselves to weave a coherent story from our personal experiences.

Yet, we do not exist in isolation. As we process information and learn from our surroundings, the end product of our work extends beyond ourselves, whether it be painting or sculpture, ceramics or prints, they all end up as satellites of our psyche, engaging with and observing the world, poised for a silent dialogue and open to the gaze of an audience.

For me, the art of creation is a gift; it has helped me keep a heightened sensitivity toward my own emotions and gave me a child-like curiosity for the world around me. In these six banner designs, I aim to spotlight the two-way journey of exploration—inward and outward. 

Through creation, we delve within, probing the depths of our own consciousness, gaining an understanding of our place and identity within the community. Simultaneously, we venture outward—in the compositions of these pieces, I played with scale to underscore art as something grander than ourselves, an outward-facing connector fostering interaction between ourselves and the world.

The title “Hands Toward the Universe” echoes the theme of this year, “Labor and Love,” where we can be reminded of the joy of exploration (love), through the process of creation (hands).

David Huang
Photo: Evan Scott

David Huang is an illustrator and designer who graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2017. He has been illustrating since then. He also earned a certificate from Type West for type design. His works have been recognized by 3×3, American Illustration, World Illustration Awards, and Society of Illustrators. His clients include New York Times, New Yorker, Boston Globe, Chobani, Quartz, Vox, Citi Bank, AARP, Hyundai, AngelList, Die Zeit, Curbed, The Verge, LA Times, Culture Trip, Bandcamp and many more. 

He grew up in Taipei and spends most of his time in three places close to his heart: New York, London, and the Bay Area. When he isn’t illustrating, he enjoys taking the subway to try out restaurants, dancing on the weekends, learning new languages intensively, and searching for random historical facts on Wikipedia. | @omguac

David Huang showing his sketches for banner designs

Video by Xuan Films
All works © David Huang

Runners Up

Jacqueline Qiu

Jacqueline Qiu, Interplay

Artist Statement

My art practice is the interface between my inner landscape and the outer world, expressed through playful rearrangements and reconstructions of nature. The work carries a transparency that reveals its making through exploration in weaving, embroidery, beading, paper-making, painting, dyeing, and foraging. 

The spaces that hold me through life are my most comforting companions. Amidst isolation and calamity, I ground myself in my surroundings while drawing connection to histories of craft. Ritual and devotion are undercurrents that flow through my work. My body submits to the labor of gathering and transforming material for my own creations. This humbling process makes me confront my physical mortality, but also brings me closer to my spiritual compass.

My site- and time-sensitive multimedia tapestry weaving practice emerged alongside investigation of Kesi (缂丝 “carved silk/colors”), a technically demanding, time consuming slit-tapestry weaving and painting technique that coalesced from disputed origins in Central Asia, traveled across the Silk Road, and reached its height in the Tang–Qing dynasties. Due to the extreme complexity of Kesi weaving, it was often said that “one inch of Kesi silk equals one ounce of gold.” In our time, as humanity’s relationship with material, landscapes, and both worldly and spiritual desire feels more dire than ever, what does it mean to hold an object, to make an object?

The woven scenes depict “labor and love” through the interplay between corporate infrastructure and natural landscape. The first two panels depict a sunrise emanating across mountaintops and a nighttime city street illuminated in lamplight. The second pair of panels illustrates dusk and dawn through reflective windows on multistory buildings—calling to mind the 9–5 workday. The third pair of panels portrays sunset filtered through sculptural woven blinds and a cloudy but unobscured horizon. The block weave structure references the monotony of work life, while vivid color symbolizes how people find beauty in scenery to make their own pockets of joy.

Jacqueline Qiu
Photo: Evan Scott

Jacqueline Qiu is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York. Exploring the breaking down of traditional fiber crafts and the combining of Eastern and Western painting philosophies, Qiu immortalizes transitory attachments and nomadic pondering through playful rearrangements and reconstructions of nature. Her woven tapestries hang at the conjunction between inner landscapes and the outer world. This past year, Qiu completed the Ós Residency at the Icelandic Textile Center in Blönduós. Her work has been exhibited at Latitude Gallery, Harper’s Chelsea, Underdonk Gallery, Woods-Gerry Gallery, Gelman Gallery, Rhode Island Hall, and Gallery 263. She has completed workshops at Tianzifang, New York Academy of Art, Anderson Ranch, and Huang Lan-Ye’s Kesi Studio. She holds a BFA in Textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design. | @jacqueline_qiu

Jacqueline Qiu, Lulling

Video by Xuan Films
All works © Jacqueline Qiu

Derek Zheng

Derek Zheng, Close-up

Artist Statement

Love is not found in grand gestures, but in the accumulation of small acts—the simple things one does everyday for oneself and for others. As the child of Fujianese immigrants and restaurant owners, I was always aware of the labor involved with putting food on the table. Close-up is an homage to that everyday labor of living: 

  1. Cracking an egg
  2. Steeping tea
  3. Peeling a pear
  4. Cleaning a fish
  5. Sun-drying radishes
  6. Wrapping a dumpling

Each banner illustrates one of these quotidian acts with comic panels and converts it into a scene. Close-up zooms into simple actions: what is revealed by chopping up a seemingly singular action into a sequence? As an illustrator and filmmaker, the comic form is satisfying because it can be both a schematic and a complete work. The viewer is asked to fill in the gap between the panels, completing the “story.” As they do so, what’s magnified and appreciated is the understated, overlooked labors involved.

Derek Zheng
Photo: Evan Scott

Derek Zheng is a filmmaker and illustrator who lives in Queens. His work explores the nature of storytelling through the sequencing of images. Most recently, his film Sorrows premiered at the Efebo d’oro film festival in Palermo. His illustrative work has been featured in The Baffler, It’s Nice That, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The | @derekzheng_

Derek Zheng, Swimmer

Video by Xuan Films
All works © Derek Zheng


Noguchi Museum Organizing Committee:
Lindy Chiu, Benefits & Accounts Payable Manager
Jared Friedman, Akari Fulfillment Specialist
Melissa Gatz, Director of Individual Giving and Events
Natalie Ginsberg, Curatorial Project Assistant
Emma Ike, Manager of Education
Carmine Indelicato, Manager of Visitor Services
Queena Ko, Director of Education
Katie Korns, Manager of Administration and Board Liaison
Matt Kirsch, Curator and Director of Research

Guest Judges:
Oscar yi Hou, artist
Justine Lee, Programs Director for Asian American Arts Alliance (A4)
June Shin, artist, winner of the 2022–23 Open Call for Artist Banners