One of my cherished perks of being a Columbia University student is that admission to NYC museums and galleries is complimentary. I am quite partial to scoping out and venturing to underrated gems, so naturally, The Noguchi Museum was at the top of my must-see list of museums. I was bestowed a small fraction of personal time, so I took the occasion to completely immerse myself in zen and augment my knowledge in art (and celebrate another year on Earth). However, I am ecstatic to be returning to the laboratory, utterly enthralled, to conduct research at Columbia University Medical Center to continue on the odyssey and life goal to mitigate cancer. But for now, let us take a glimpse into Noguchi's art and legacy.
The Noguchi Museum was created and designed by internationally and critically acclaimed, Japanese-American sculptor, Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), for the installation of masterpieces he deemed to be characteristic archetypes of his life’s vision.
Opened in 1985, the Museum is housed in a reconstructed industrial building, connected to a building and interior garden of Noguchi’s design. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens, the Museum is considered in itself to be one of the artist’s greatest works. In building a museum, Noguchi was an early pioneer who led the metamorphosis of the Long Island City area into the arts district it is today, home to cultural institutions such as Socrates Sculpture Park, SculptureCenter, MoMA PS1, and Museum of the Moving Image, among others (Noguchi Museum, 2015).
Noguchi constructed the Museum conglomerate as an open-air sculpture garden ensconced within architecture that encloses ten galleries. In its entirety, the Museum emanates a visceral, meditative amplitude in which to appreciate Noguchi's sculpture and design, accomplishing a central leitmotif that Noguchi considered indispensable to his life's cultivation. Visitors enter the two-level, estimating 27,000-square-foot, Museum through the distinguished sculpture garden. While the ground-level galleries and garden contain a perpetual display of Noguchi's work, elected from his own collection (circa 2004), the Museum routinely showcases transitory exhibitions that manifests a rich, contextualised view of Noguchi's work in the upper galleries.
An international focus point for the study and interpretation of Noguchi’s work, one can feel the dedication of the Museum to illuminating the artist’s vision, his wisdom with sculpture and public spaces, and the legacy of his work in later artists. However, just seeing the tranquil garden with Noguchi's sculptures, weeping cherry trees and bamboo, are worth the trip alone. His work is unmatched, enigmatic, and thought-provoking.
Upon entering, I was transported to a tranquil and harmonious haven that induced a feeling as if I was not in the city. The intimacy of Noguchi’s design of the Museum is an elemental and extraordinary part of the experience. It remains a place for the exploration of individual artistic endeavor and creative collaboration through exposure to Noguchi's eclectic practice. The relevance of underscoring the character of The Noguchi Museum, even as it grows in programming capacity and in public recognition, simply cannot be over-hyperbolised.