When I find myself in what I would call a “Destination Neighborhood” – meaning an area that I wouldn’t normally be in except for a planned visit to a specific site or event – I always try to do as much as possible in that locale before returning home, because I probably won’t be going back any time soon. And so it happened that when Geoffrey and I made the haul out to Long Island City to visit the Socrates Sculpture Park, we also walked just a few blocks up Vernon Blvd to the Noguchi Museum, which Geoffrey had pegged as a stop well worth making. As usual, he was right on.
Here is a little background on Noguchi from his Wikipedia entry, in case you are unfamiliar with his work. Isamu Noguchi was a prominent Japanese American artist and landscape architect whose artistic career spanned six decades, from the 1920s onward. Known for his sculpture and public works, Noguchi also designed stage sets for various Martha Graham productions, and several mass-produced lamps and furniture pieces, some of which are still manufactured and sold.
In 1947, Noguchi began a collaboration with the Herman Miller company, when he joined with George Nelson, Paul László and Charles Eames to produce a catalog containing what is often considered to be the most influential body of modern furniture ever produced, including the iconic Noguchi table which remains in production today.
The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum is devoted to the preservation, documentation, presentation, and interpretation of Noguchi’s work. It is the first Museum in America established by a living artist of his own work, and it contains the world’s richest holdings of Noguchi’s art.
The Museum honors and preserves Noguchi’s minimalist design aesthetic, exhibiting a core group of works for permanent viewing, with other works on rotation. It’s amazing how the museum was designed to display his sculptures in the most appropriate setting, which includes a semi-open main floor plan, a gorgeous green Sculpture Garden and several floors of pristine stone and wood floor galleries that serve to make Noguchi’s sculptures seem as if they are in their perfect, organic surroundings.
The layout of the museum definitely enhanced our enjoyment of the art and of the visit experience overall.
Isamu Noguchi passed away on December 30, 1988, at the age of 84, but his work lives on in this fantastic museum that is a must-see for lovers of art and design.
The Noguchi Museum is Located at 9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard), Long Island City, NY 11106. Hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 AM -6:00 PM, Closed Monday & Tuesday. Visit This Link for complete information including travel directions by car and subway, and admission prices.