2022 Artist Banners
Yet it is out of this mess that our poetry must come, for this is the inexorable change out of which must emerge our own particular truth.
Isamu Noguchi, Meanings in Modern Sculpture, 1949
As an institution founded by Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi, The Noguchi Museum stands in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and any community targeted by hate, violence, or racism. To celebrate and amplify creative voices in our local AAPI community, the Museum established its Open Call for Artist Banners project in 2021. Emerging AAPI artists based in New York City are invited to submit designs for the Museum’s outdoor banners.
The past year has seen a disheartening continuation of violence and unrest around the world. As a witness to international conflicts and nuclear proliferation in the twentieth century, Isamu Noguchi viewed the violence of his own times as symptomatic of an erosion of a sense of shared humanity and a loss of communal bonds. Noguchi regarded the role of the artist as having the potential to counter this through direct, personal expression, remarking: “If meaning is the province of the arts, so in order. When the very meaning of life becomes obscure and chaotic, how necessary is the order which with the practice of the arts leads to harmony, and without which there is only brutality” (Meanings in Modern Sculpture). With Noguchi’s example in mind, the Museum’s organizing committee, an intergenerational and cross-departmental group of staff volunteers, chose to center the 2022 Open Call for Artist Banners around the theme of peace.
The jury was pleased to select June Shin as the winner, and Cui Fei and Dione Lee as runners-up, from a compelling and varied pool of submissions. The jury was composed of the Museum’s organizing committee, as well as partners Justine Lee of Asian American Arts Alliance and the architect Toshiko Mori. June Shin’s work Reminders (2022) is presented across the Museum’s outdoor banners, and will be on view until November 2023. Each of the three finalists will lead education programs as part of the Museum’s AAPI Community Days in spring and summer 2023.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
It’s a particularly difficult time to be alive. In recent years we have witnessed rising violence against the AAPI community, in addition to a global pandemic and myriads of other political, social, environmental issues. As we despair, rage, and devise plans to bring peace to our families, cities and the world, it can often feel exhausting and hopeless because the work is never finished. It can never be. So what do we do? In the face of disorder, injustice, and absurdity, what steers us away from the nihilistic emotional rollercoaster and keeps us grounded so that we may carry on, is inner peace. Reminders offers a response to the question, ‘how do we find inner peace?’ Each design conveys a message, a reminder for all, through forms that are at once figurative and abstract: the first panel portrays lovers embracing and kissing, the second one depicts deserts and mountains, the fourth illustrates a cairn, a symbol of reassurance by which hikers know they’re on the correct path. The formal qualities—the color palette inspired by Korean traditional palaces as well as the graphic language using simple geometry and gradation—reflect my Korean heritage and background in graphic design. The verticality and symmetry of the designs are reminiscent of totem poles that embody stories and the lessons they carry. Reminders will have served its purpose when a viewer looks upon them and considers the six suggestions presented here as pillars for their own journey toward inner peace:
1. Love and be loved; 2. Stay close to nature; 3. Find things to be grateful for; 4. Trust that you’re on the right path; 5. Take deep breaths; 6. Learn to let go.
June Shin is a Seoul-born artist and designer based in New York City. While gravitating toward message-driven typographic work, she often straddles the line between legibility and abstraction. Through suggestive, open-ended forms that invite various interpretations, her work meditates on and re-examines the ordinary—whether they are objects, letterforms, or ideas—and starts to challenge the usual hierarchy of not only form but also attention, and consequently, of value. She has previously designed typefaces at Occupant Fonts, a Morisawa company, and taught typography at Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been recognized by Art Directors Club, Type Directors Club, Core77, STA 100, and more. She holds a BA in Art History from Cornell University and an MFA in Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of Design. junesh.in | @notborninjune
Tracing the Origin
For these banner designs, I organized found grape tendrils into symbolic manuscripts in the Chinese calligraphic format. These designs make reference to the ancient Chinese concept of nature, which emphasizes the interconnectedness of all beings. My work emphasizes the commonalities that link us together in spite of cultural, racial, and national differences: we can all relate to nature; everyone can recognize and identify the tendrils; but the “text” cannot be read by anyone—which puts all viewers on equal footing. The work encourages openness and seeing beyond first appearances. With this receptivity, people can turn away from xenophobia and focus on our interconnectedness, develop empathy for and bond with each other, and be able to celebrate the differences that enrich our lives. I believe this approach could lead to peace.
Cui Fei was born in Jinan, China. She received a BFA in painting from China Academy of Fine Arts and an MFA in painting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Princeton University Art Museum; Queens Museum; Jeju Museum of Art, Jeju, Korea; Rietberg Museum, Zurich, Switzerland; and Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, Germany; among others. She has received grants and awards from: Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York Foundation for the Art, and Socrates Sculpture Park, and was selected for the Art Omi International Artists Residency and the AIM program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Her work has been reviewed in various publications including The New York Times, Art in America, and YiShu. cuifei.net | @cuifei77
Scales explores the tangled relationship between order and chaos in the creation of peace. Presented as a series of digitally-altered cyanotypes, the work juxtaposes human craft and machine generation as a reflection of entropy and control: two fundamental elements of peace and harmony. Each print begins as 3-D simulations of natural formations in water, earth and plant matter, symbolizing our triumph and ability to control nature. As they are exposed in light and turned into cyanotypes, the images depend on the temperament of the sun, as well as the diligence of the artist. From pixel to paper, they are carefully handcrafted but intrinsically surrender to chaos. Much like this process, peace is a deliberate negotiation between calm and chaos; it is fickle, fleeting and elusive. Scales examines this duality of peace and imagines the beauty that exists between its two sides.
Dione Lee is an artist-designer from Singapore, and currently based in New York City. Since graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art (Interactive Arts, 2019), she has been working at a graphic design studio in Ridgewood, New York. Alongside this, she pursues her artistic practice and has shown in exhibitions in Singapore, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Rotterdam. @hellocargo | @studio.towers
Noguchi Museum Organizing Committee:
Justin Baez, Media Coordinator
Lindy Chiu, Benefits & Accounts Payable Coordinator
Carmine Indelicato, Assistant Manager of Visitor Services
Melissa Gatz, Director of Individual Giving and Events
Matt Kirsch, Curator of Research and Digital Content
Katie Korns, Administrative Associate
Danielle McCloskey, Shipping Assistant, Akari and Design
Asian American Arts Alliance (A4)
The 2022 Artist Banners project is supported by the donors to Noguchi at Night.