Tag Archive | Sculpture Gardens

A Visit to The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City

Bronze Drop Noguchi Scupture
All Photos By Gail

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.

Noguchi Smooth Stone Sculpture Garden

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.

Noguchi Smooth Stone Fountain Sculpture Garden

Stone Noguchi Sculpture

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.

Noguchi Smooth Stone Sculpture Plus PenisThe 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.

Noguchi Stone Round Stone Sculpture

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.

Noguchi Metal Sculptures

The layout of the museum definitely enhanced our enjoyment of the art and of the visit experience overall.

Noguchi Round Stone Sculptures

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.

Noguchi Stone Sculpture Protoypes

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.

Noguchi Museum Signage

Noguchi Stone Black and White Sculpture

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Ten Cool Things I Saw at the Huntington Library

Huntington Library Flamingo Signage
Huntington Library Signage Featuring Original Audubon Drawing

The Huntington Library, contrary to what you might deduce from its rather literal name, is a former private estate property located in San Marino, California that now hosts a vast and mind blowing art collection and multiple, unique botanical gardens and sculpture collections, in addition to housing one of the largest and most complete research libraries in the United States. Seriously, the place is amazing. You could spend an entire day there and not get bored.

I spent an afternoon at the Huntington Library this past December and had the best time. Here are some photos I took to give you an idea of what you might see if you decide to visit.

Huntington Library Pinkie
Pinkie By Thomas Lawrence (1794)

Much of the Library’s collection of paintings centers around 18th-century English portraiture. Pinkie, one of the most famous paintings of its time, hangs directly across the room from Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy. It is really hard to avoid being moved by their beauty and profound emotional pull.

Huntington Library Blue Boy
Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough

Huntington Library Art Nouveau Lighting

Many of the interior furnishings and fixtures in the main house/gallery remain from the time it was inhabited by its original owners, Henry and Arabella Huntington. You can see from the above light fixture that they had exquisite taste.

Huntington Library Pink Ceramics Case

Mrs. Huntington was a dedicated collector of fine hand-painted china. There are several large rooms entirely devoted to showcasing her collection.

Huntington Library Mother of Pearl Inlay

Because the Huntingtons were ridiculously wealthy, they traveled the world and added pieces to their collection from the countries they visited. This exquisite chest that flaunts an insanely ornate Mother of Pearl inlaid design is from Japan.

Huntington Library Main House from Marble Statue Garden

The pristinely landscaped grounds leading up to the main house and gallery are flanked by a remarkably gorgeous marble statue garden. Yes, rich people really used to live this way.

Huntington Library Marble Statue Gazebo

Huntington Library Marble Statue Fountain

I love this large fountain, which bookends the sculpture garden.

Hunt Lib Terrarium Dome

It should not surprise anyone that the Library grounds are home to an indoor Rainforest.

Hunt Lib Japanese Garden Lake

They also have a huge Japanese Garden which features a large pond, statues, sculptures, a tea house, bridges and topiary.

Huntington Library Teddy Bear Topiary

Hunt Lib Warhol

Last but not least, there is small collection of Contemporary Art which includes pieces by some of my favorite artists, such as Andy Warhol, bringing the historical art experience full circle.

The Huntington Library Art Collection and Botanical Gardens is located at 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108. Phone (626)405-2100 or visit their Website for hours and admission information.