Past Exhibitions


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

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Highlights from the Collection: Recent Acquisitions
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - Sunday, September 1, 2013

These pieces come from two major Japanese collections. Highlighted by the stunning "Love of Two Boards" is a major gift of works from Noguchi's friend and collaborator, Tsutomu Hiroi, a famous kite-maker who helped Noguchi develop his Akari light sculptures. The other group comes from the family of an assistant of Noguchi's and features a small centipede which relates to his "Even the Centipede," the great masterpiece of his work in clay, now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. 

As evidenced by the instruction he gave his business manager in the 1980's never to sell any of his ceramics, Noguchi had a particularly proprietary feeling about them. For that reason, we are very pleased to announce and present this important addition to the permanent collection. 

A large selection of Noguchi's ceramics will be included this fall at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, TX in Return to Earth: Ceramics of Fontana, Melotti, Miro, Picasso and Noguchi, 1943-1963, the first exhibition to survey the post-war work of these modernist sculptors in clay. 

Image: Atsumi-san (Washboard figure), 1952

Area 5: Cut and Fold
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Noguchi's spatial intelligence (his ability to visualize in three dimensions) was extraordinary. He was capable not only of constructing an object composed of many elements in his mind, but rotating it on three axes and placing it in an environment. We live in an age when the wide availability of sophisticated imaging programs has made this ability seem somewhat less exceptional - making it hard to appreciate the difficulties involved in moving an idea from the mind's eye to realization at full scale with graph paper, hand tools and the occasional help of a friend or assistant.

This exhibition looks at three ways Noguchi employed paper as a primary tool for developing and executing work: the well-known but often misunderstood Worksheets for Sculpture he made to conceive, piece out and plan his interlocking stone and wood sculptures, the multilayered collages which help him think through the unique space in which dance and theater sets function and a group of recently rediscovered paper maquettes, along with the cut and folded metal sculptures they generated.

Drawn from the Museum's collection of 1,500 works on paper and 17,000 photographs and documents, Area 5: Cut and Fold is the first in a new series of quarterly exhibitions designed to offer insight into Noguchi's practice, projects, life and career. The exhibition also marks the return of Area 5, after nearly a decade as a video room, to use as a gallery.  

Image: Worksheet for sculpture, c. 1945-47

Isamu Noguchi: We are the Landscape of All We Know
Friday, May 3, 2013 - Sunday, July 21, 2013

Portland Japanese Garden

As part of its 50th anniversary programming, the Portland Japanese Garden presents Isamu Noguchi: We are the Landscape of All We Know , which features 22 works by Isamu Noguchi on loan from the Museum.  Noguchi's work is set against the beautiful backdrop of one of the most highly regarded gardens of its kind outside of Japan.

Full Exhibition List




Asleep in a Rock
, 1966
Image by Kevin Noble

Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi's Studio Practice
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - Sunday, May 12, 2013


This exhibition explores Noguchi’s working process through a handful of studios that he kept beginning in the 1940s and continuing through the Long Island City and Mure Japan studios that he split his time between until his death.  The exhibition illuminates Noguchi’s practice during five studio periods over the course of his career including: the MacDougal Alley studio in New York (where he experimented with his slate and wooden interlocking sculptures in the 1940s); his Kita Kamakura studio in Japan (the origin of much of Noguchi’s brief experimentation with ceramic work in 1952);  the 10th Street studio in Long Island City (his headquarters in New York for the last 25 years of his life);  the Pietrasanta and Querceta studios near the Henraux quarries in Italy (where he rekindled his appreciation for direct stone carving in the mid- 1960s); and the studio at Mure, Japan (where from 1969 onward he spent half of his year working with hard stone). 


Hammer, Chisel, Drill also briefly considers Noguchi’s time as an assistant in the Paris studio of Constantin Brancusi, which was critical not only as the younger artist’s first exposure to direct stone-carving, but also for its influence on the way he would set up his own studios. Photographs documenting Noguchi at work, film footage, hand- and industrial tools that Noguchi used throughout his career, and selected sculptures further illustrate his production.


Highlights from the Collection
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - Sunday, September 9, 2012

A newly-selected installment of the ongoing Highlights from the Collection series opens in June. This exhibition will feature key works from the Museum’s collection, including sculptures in stone, a selection documenting Noguchi’s experimentation with stainless steel and aluminum sculptures from the 1950s, as well as rarely shown pieces from the early 1940s incorporating string and wood elements.  A handful of design prototypes - including saucers and silverware - and sketches for furniture designs will appear alongside examples of both Noguchi’s iconic and lesser- known furniture designs  and Akari light sculptures , giving an overview of the Noguchi’s diverse production and achievement. 

Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City
Thursday, October 13, 2011 - Sunday, April 22, 2012