Isamu Noguchi’s Tenth Street Studio, Long Island City, circa 1960s.
Photo: Noguchi Museum Archives

Isamu Noguchi’s Queens Studio to Open to Public for First Time

The Noguchi Museum reveals major plans for an expanded campus, including the sculptor’s restored studio

Admirers of Isamu Noguchi will soon be able to get further insight into the Japanese sculptor’s fascinating creative process. On Tuesday, the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in Long Island City revealed plans to expand its footprint with a new 6,000-square-foot structure that will hold the museum’s collection and archive along with Noguchi’s 1959 studio and pied-à-terre.

Isamu Noguchi’s Long Island City studio in the 1960s. Photo: Noguchi Museum Archive.

Designed by Büro Koray Duman, the Art and Archive Building will fittingly house the museum’s permanent collection and extensive archives, adding to the original 27,000-square-foot gallery space and sculpture garden, which the sculptor founded in 1985. Noguchi moved to Long Island City in the early 1960s, establishing his studio close to local stone and metal workers, and across the street from where the museum stands today.

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“Isamu Noguchi was a fearless, category-defying, cross-disciplinary polymath, and our new Noguchi campus will allow us to better reflect on the complex nature of Noguchi’s work and life,” the institution’s director, Brett Littman, who took the reins in 2018, said in a statement.

An installation view of the Noguchi Museum. Photo: Noguchi Museum

Construction is scheduled to begin on the art building in January 2020. The renovation of the studio will follow in 2021 and is expected to be completed by 2022.

“As the guardians of the life’s work of one of the greatest sculptors and designers of the 20th century, whose legacy continues to inspire artists, scholars, and the public, the museum must work not only to safeguard the art and archives, but also to make them accessible,” adds Noguchi Museum board chair Malcom Nolen.

Noguchi is perhaps best known for his hanging Akari light sculptures, which have graced many a midcentury-modern home, but his work traversed many disciplines. He masterminded some of the country’s most beloved public sculptures and parks; designed cutting-edge furniture; and even created minimalist set designs for choreographers such as Martha Graham.

The serene sculpture garden at the Noguchi Museum. Photo: Noguchi Museum

The museum houses the world’s largest collection of the artist’s works, his archives, and the Isamu Noguchi catalogue raisonné, and also showcases various temporary exhibitions. Currently on view is “Gabriel Orozco: Rotating Objects,” an installation of ten works created by Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco in Tokyo in 2015.

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