Past Exhibitions


View photographs and learn more about past exhibitions at The Noguchi Museum and other institutions around the world.

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Gabriel Orozco: Rotating Objects
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - Sunday, August 11, 2019

This installation of ten works by Gabriel Orozco (b. 1962), seven Roto Shaku and three Obi Scrolls, complements Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan (opening May 1). Created in Tokyo in 2015, Orozco’s works provide a contemporary parallel to Isamu Noguchi and Saburo Hasegawa’s efforts to create modern art that developed Japan’s traditional craft cultures.

The Roto Shaku are made from a standard length of lumber that the artist has wrapped in a range of colored tapes. Employing his signature geometries, Orozco establishes a counterpoint between multiple traditions of abstraction and seeming abstraction: decorative patterning, practical mark making (as for measurement), and the theories of signs, symbols, and structures that underlie much of modern Western painting. Orozco’s Obi Scrolls were fashioned by incising, rotating, and reversing sections of fragments of antique kimono sashes (obi). The results were then mounted on scrolls as paintings, converting conventions of wrapping into explicit content.

Exhibition Brochure

Homepage: Gabriel Orozco, Obi Scroll 5 (detail), 2015. Cotton, washi, rosewood. Photo: Cathy Carver. This page: Installation view, Gabriel Orozco, Roto Shaku series, 2015. All works courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery. Photo: Nicholas Knight.

Gabriel Orozco: Rotating Objects is supported, in part, with 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 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - Sunday, July 14, 2019

Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan is a major traveling exhibition focused on the consequential friendship between Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) and Saburo Hasegawa (1906–1957). In his lifetime, Hasegawa was among the most renowned contemporary Japanese artists in the United States, and credited with introducing European abstraction to Japan in his role as an art historian, critic, and art theorist.

Their relationship was kindled during Noguchi’s visit to Japan in 1950, as both artists sought to understand the fragmented postwar world and the potential of art in reassembling it. Together, they undertook a wide-ranging study of traditional Japanese design, culture, and aesthetics; visiting historic sites, and debating modernization with the ultimate goal of making modern art in Japan through the “true development” of its traditions. Comprising more than 80 contemporary and subsequent works by Noguchi and Hasegawa, the exhibition traces influences of their dialogue.

Organized by The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York, Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan is curated by Dakin Hart, Senior Curator at The Noguchi Museum, and Mark Dean Johnson, Professor and Gallery Director at San Francisco State University. Previously at Yokohama Museum of Art, the exhibition will be on view at The Noguchi Museum from May 1 to July 14, 2019; and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco from September 27 to December 8, 2019.

Please be advised, due to the fragility and irreplaceable nature of many works in this exhibition we cannot allow children under 12 in certain galleries.


Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan is accompanied by a richly illustrated, bilingual catalogue published by University of California Press. With essays by curators Dakin Hart and Mark Dean Johnson, as well as other leading scholars, the publication also includes essays by Hasegawa and Noguchi—Hasegawa’s “Noguchi in Japan” (1950) and Noguchi’s “Remembrance of Saburo Hasegawa” (1976).
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In addition, an open access companion The Saburo Hasegawa Reader collects a valuable trove of material including the entire manuscript for a 1957 Hasegawa memorial volume, with its essays by philosopher Alan Watts, Oakland Museum Director Paul Mills, and Japan Times art writer Elise Grilli, as well as various unpublished writings by Hasegawa. Available as a free ebook and print on demand from UC Press.
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Related Programs

Thursday, June 13, 6:30 pm
Musical Performance: Changing and Unchanging Sound

Sunday, June 16, 1–5 pm
Hands-On at Noguchi: Block-print Stamping

Sunday, July 14, 1 pm
Curator's Tour: Dakin Hart and Matthew Kirsch

Images, from top: Tea ceremony in Nara with a group including Saburo Hasegawa (second from right) and Isamu Noguchi (far right), 1950. The Noguchi Museum Archive; ©INFGM / ARS. Saburo Hasegawa, I-Ro-Ha (The Japanese Syllabary), 1954. Monoprint. Private collection. Isamu Noguchi, My Mu, 1950. Seto stoneware. Collection of The Noguchi Museum. Photo: Kevin Noble; ©INFGM / ARS.

Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan is made possible through lead support from the Terra Foundation for American Art. Generous transportation assistance has been provided by ANA (All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.). Major support has also been received from the National Endowment for the Arts, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and The Japan Foundation. The exhibition is also supported, in part, with 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 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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Pratt + Noguchi
Friday, May 17, 2019 - Thursday, June 6, 2019

A collaboration between The Noguchi Museum and Pratt Institute, Interior Design.

Each spring, Pratt Institute’s Interior Design Graduate Level Qualifying Design Studio course asks students to draw inspiration from Isamu Noguchi’s work.

This year, students researched and analyzed works from the Museum's permanent collection to use as conceptual drivers for a hypothetical Noguchi Museum Annex and Community Center set in 2030 in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Work from all participating students is exhibited at The Noguchi Museum in the lower-level gallery; including drawings, examples of object analysis, and six select student projects in their entirety.

Isamu Noguchi working on Small Practices, 1979. ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / ARS. Photo by Michio Noguchi.

Isamu Noguchi: 2D to 3D
Friday, May 17, 2019 - Sunday, May 19, 2019

Draw Art Fair London, Saatchi Gallery

In partnership with Draw Art Fair London, The Noguchi Museum presents an installation highlighting Isamu Noguchi’s inventive use of two-dimensional materials in the process of creating sculptures and spaces, often combining methods from various creative disciplines. The installation features a number of his rarely-seen small paper maquettes for sculpture.

Isamu Noguchi, Maquettes for sculpture, c.1960s. Pencil on cut paper. Collection of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York. Photo: Kevin Noble. ©INFGM / ARS

Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint
Friday, November 16, 2018 - Monday, April 22, 2019

M+ Pavilion, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong

Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint presents art and design works by Isamu Noguchi in dialogue with work by Danh Vo (Danish, born Vietnam, 1975). For this exhibition, M+ Museum collaborates closely with Vo—one of the most critically acclaimed artists today—and The Noguchi Museum on the selection and installation of Noguchi’s wide-ranging work. This collaboration offers a new reading and, at the same time, defines a new relationship between the two artists.


Photo ©Nick Ash / Danh Vo.

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Akari: Sculpture by Other Means
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - Sunday, April 14, 2019

Akari: Sculpture by Other Means occupies the Museum’s second-floor galleries. It includes several installations that allow visitors to experience ways that Isamu Noguchi’s Akari—a modular ecosystem of lightweight, collapsible paper lanterns—can create and transform space. 

Noguchi’s electrified paper, bamboo, and metal Akari light sculptures have quietly become among the most ubiquitous sculptures on Earth. Their origins lie in 1951 when, on a trip to a still devastated post-war Japan, Noguchi was asked by the mayor of the small town of Gifu City to help revitalize the local lantern industry by creating a modern lamp for export using the traditional washi paper (made by hand from the inner bark of the mulberry tree) and bamboo.

Inspired by the lanterns that illuminated night fishing on the Nagara River, Noguchi worked with local firm Ozeki & Co. to combine the elements of the traditional paper lantern with electricity. He designed a dizzying array of new forms—creating contemporary art by marrying ancient craft with the defining technology of the twentieth-century. He would go on to create more than 200 models of Akari, including an entire line for his exhibition for the American Pavilion at the 1986 Venice Biennale, in the process receiving five American and thirty-one Japanese patents.

The installations in Sculpture by Other Means create a series of environments that convey the essential values of Akari, drawing on the organizational, structural and ephemeral qualities of nature, and exemplifying Noguchi’s concept of light as both place and object. These include the chamber-like Akari PL1 and an eight-foot cube made of illuminated PL2 panels.

Also featured is the Akari 200D, a two-meter wide globe Noguchi made for his 1986 Venice Biennale presentation (titled, tellingly, Isamu Noguchi: What is Sculpture?). Designed in 1985, the 200D is the largest Akari that Noguchi ever created. It is displayed here as it was at the Biennale, in a large wood-frame box, based on a Japanese display niche, that Noguchi made for that exhibition.

The exhibition’s selection of archival material comprises vintage photographs, advertisements, and Akari brochures, all suggesting Noguchi’s thinking about the presentation of Akari as a continually shifting enterprise. Other materials document the numerous exhibitions of Akari between 1952 and 1985, in the home-furnishings marketplace, in galleries, and culminating in his presentation at the 1986 Venice Biennale.

A companion exhibition, Akari Unfolded: A Collection by YMER&MALTA, will present a selection of 26 lamps created by this leading French studio in collaboration with six designers. Read more

From top: Isamu Noguchi, Akari 30D (designed 1963). Akari informational poster, c.1950s. Homepage: Editorial photograph with Akari 1AS (designed 1953), for Harper’s Bazaar. Photograph by Louise Dahl-Wolfe. Installation view, Akari Cloud. Photograph by Nicholas Knight. ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS).

Sculpture by Other Means is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.