Looking Up

GBP £34.95



ISBN: 978-1-911282-61-7

132 Pages

279 x 216 mm, (8.5 x 11 in.)

76 colour

In association with Western Gallery & Public Art Collection, Western Washington University

June 2022


The first publication to explore, in depth, Isamu Noguchi’s interest in skyviewing and outer space 

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Edited by Dakin Hart and Hafthor Yngvason

Contributions by Dakin Hart, Hafthor Yngvason, and Matthew Kirsch

The Western Gallery, Western Washington University, is the site of a major collection of outdoor sculpture, one of which—Skyviewing Sculpture—by Japanese American artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) forms the starting point of this volume. Skyviewing is an important theme running through much of Noguchi’s art, and this is the first book to explore it in depth. Noguchi made two major Skyviewing sculptures, one at Western Gallery, and the other in Honolulu, but the theme of space and charting our place in the universe is also present in many of his other works.

Whilst some of Noguchi’s sculptures act as observatories, encouraging viewers to enter and turn their gaze to the sky, others act as reflecting telescopes with polished stone or water that mirror the heavens. Still others trace the path of the sun with cast shadows, or lead the eye upwards. Looking Up explores the changing artistic climate during Noguchi’s long career (1928–1988), and places him in context with a younger generation of artists, including Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, James Turrell and Charles Ross.

In his essay, Dakin Hart addresses the role and history of skyviewing, covering its evolution and different manifestations in Noguchi’s art and, importantly, the relation of skyviewing to the changing artistic climate of his time. Extensive commentaries on individual works—including many of his best-known sculptures—offer a fuller understanding of Noguchi’s complete body of work. In addition, in his detailed study of Noguchi’s encounter with the Jantar Mantars, Matthew Kirsch explores an important source for the artist’s approaches to skyviewing. Finally, we are fortunate to be able to include photographs of the fabrication, transportation, and installation of the Skyviewing Sculpture in 1969, documented by the Northwest photographer Mary Randlett.

Author biographies

Dakin Hart is the senior curator at The Noguchi Museum.

Hafthor Yngvason is the director, Western Gallery, Western Washington University.

Matthew Kirsch is curator of Research and Digital Content at The Noguchi Museum

Table of contents

  • Introduction and Acknowledgments by Hafthor Yngvason
  • Essay by Dakin Hart
  • Isamu Noguchi’s Visits to the Jantar Mantars of Northern India by Matthew Kirsch
  • Plates
  • Mary Randlett Photos
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Photo Credits