Noguchi Talks | Marc Keane and Matthew Kirsch on Japanese Gardens

Saturday, May 11, 2019 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm

The Japanese Garden is made from a collaboration with nature … Man’s hands are hidden by time and the many effects of nature, moss and so forth, so you are hidden. I don’t want to be hidden. I want to show. Therefore I am modern. Isamu Noguchi*


Join Marc Keane, landscape architect and garden scholar, and Matthew Kirsch, Curator of Research at The Noguchi Museum, for a discussion about the Japanese garden as both inspiration and point of departure for Isamu Noguchi in the later decades of his career. In 1950, nineteen years after his first visits to temples in Kyoto and Nara, Noguchi traveled to each again, with artist and writer Saburo Hasegawa guiding his visits to important Zen temples and to the Katsura Imperial Villa. Their experiences were framed by their shared search for inspiration in Japan’s cultural past, which they hoped could be reinterpreted in modern practice. The Japanese garden exemplified this promise: an aesthetic culture with its own set of guidelines and precepts which, rather than stifling creativity and innovation, extended possibilities within a tradition.


This talk coincides with Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan (May 1–July 14), a major traveling exhibition that traces influences of the dialogue between Isamu Noguchi and Saburo Hasegawa through their respective works.


Please join us in the Museum Shop after the talk for a book signing featuring Marc Keane’s latest publication Japanese Garden Notes: A Visual Guide to Elements and Design.


Free with Museum admission. RSVP recommended: [email protected].


*Rhony Alhalel, “A Conversation with Isamu Noguchi,” Kyoto Journal 10, Spring 1989, p 35.
Isamu Noguchi, Photograph at Katsura Imperial Villa (detail), c. 1950. The Noguchi Museum Archive. ©INFGM/ARS