Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi's Studio Practice, an exhibition that explores Isamu Noguchi's working methods, opens at The Noguchi Museum on October 3, 2012. Featuring a variety of hand- and industrial tools, along with photographs, select sculptures, and film footage, the exhibition will illuminate Noguchi's practice in six of the studios he used during the course of his career. These were located in Manhattan and Queens, New York; Querceta and Pietrasanta, Italy; and Kanagawa prefecture and Mure, Japan. Hammer, Chisel, Drill will also briefly consider 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.
The exhibition runs October 3, 2012–April 28, 2013 at The Noguchi Museum, located at 9-01 33rd Road at Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, New York.
Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi's Studio Practice will include about sixty hand- and industrial tools drawn from Noguchi's belongings. A handful of his sculptures, finished and unfinished, will be positioned throughout the exhibition as they relate to specific tools or processes, and a 1970 documentary including footage of Noguchi at work at his Pietrasanta studio will run. Elsewhere in the Museum, footage of contemporary artists at work in their studios will be screened, illustrating the combination of craft and consideration inherent to the art-making process.
The exhibition will also feature a variety of photographs documenting the artist at work in the six studios: during the 1940s in MacDougal Alley, where he experimented with slate; in the 1950s in the Kita Kamakura studio, in Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, the source of most of his ceramic work; in the 10th Street studio, in Long Island City, which was his New York headquarters from 1961 onward; during the 1960s in the Pietrasanta and Querceta studios, where he rekindled his appreciation for direct stone-carving at quarries used by Michelangelo; and in the studio at Mure, Japan, where he worked with stone for half of every year from 1969 until the end of his life, in 1988.
Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi's Studio Practice has been organized by the Museum's Associate Curator Matthew Kirsch and Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs Kenneth Wayne.
Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) was one of the most critically acclaimed sculptors of the twentieth century. Through a lifetime of artistic experimentation, he created sculpture, gardens, furniture, lighting and interior designs, ceramics, architecture, and set designs. His work, at once subtle and bold, traditional and modern, set a new standard for artistic achievement. Noguchi collaborated with a range of artists and thinkers and traveled extensively throughout his career. He discovered the impact of large-scale public works in Mexico, earthy ceramics and tranquil gardens in Japan, subtle ink-brush techniques in China, and the purity of marble in Italy.
Occupying a renovated industrial building dating from the 1920s, The Noguchi Museum, located in Long Island City, New York, comprises ten indoor galleries and an internationally celebrated outdoor sculpture garden. Since its founding in 1985, the Museum—itself widely viewed as among the artist's greatest achievements—has exhibited a comprehensive selection of sculpture in stone, metal, wood, and clay, as well as models for public projects and gardens, dance sets, and Noguchi's Akari Light Sculptures. Together, this installation and the Museum's diverse special exhibitions offer a rich, contextualized view of Noguchi's work and illuminate his influential legacy of innovation. For more information: www.noguchi.org.
Pictured: Noguchi working in his Long Island City studio, 1960s. Photo by Walter Reiser. Courtesy The Noguchi Museum.