Growing up in both the United States and Japan, sculptor, designer and inventor Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) found inspiration in polarities—notably East and West, but also craft and fine art, tradition and invention, nature’s elemental forces and man’s technological progress. Noguchi’s friend and biographer Dore Ashton described his quest for “the precise voice that could speak of both the modern and the ancient in the same breath.”
That synthesis animates Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern. An essay by Dakin Hart traces themes in the artist’s sixty-year career—an expansive vision that ranged from landscape art to garden and playground designs, from sculptures featuring planets and outer space to those grappling with the atomic age, and from patented lamps and furniture to modern dance sets and costumes. More than sixty full colour plates highlight the timeless appeal of this thoroughly modern artist.
Dakin Hart is senior curator at The Noguchi Museum, where he oversees the museum’s exhibitions, collections, catalogue raisonné, archives, and public programming, and has the daily good fortune of collaborating with Isamu
Noguchi in absentia. His previous positions include Assistant Director, Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas); Artistic Director and Director of Artists in Residence, Montalvo Center for the Arts (Saratoga, CA); and Assistant to the Director, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He has also worked as an independent curator and writer.