Ahh, Noguchi Museum, where have you been all my life? I know where: tucked away in an industrial neighborhood in Queens, not easy to get to, and not on the way to anything else [actually, the museum is across the street from Costco, so there’s that]. Okay, let’s explore the Noguchi Museum, shall we?
The unassuming compound was Noguchi’s workshop and studio. On a Saturday afternoon, it was eerily quiet. The few visitors spoke in hushed tones appropriate for a house of worship.
Everything seems so tactile, but visitors aren’t allowed to touch the work. I do understand that, but merely looking at these sensuous forms seemed to be somewhat missing the point:
Among the works on display were a few of these granite tablescapes, in which distance is condensed as in a Zen meditation garden:
An unusual folded metal sculpture:
Out the window, visitors get a glimpse of some manufacturing buildings in the foreground and housing in the distance. Being in this place where the work itself happened, which was chosen because of its proximity to Noguchi’s suppliers, is completely different from the usual glitzy detachment of a museum:
The one aspect of Noguchi’s work that wasn’t covered in the galleries was his furniture design. It was present in the gift shop, of course, but I would have appreciated a narrative thread helping to tie these massive sculptures and public space models to his smaller, utilitarian lighting and furniture pieces.
If you find yourself visiting NYC, or if you live there and have never been to the Noguchi Museum, I highly, highly recommend it.