The Noguchi Museum: A Portrait

Tina Barney and Stephen Shore. Phaidon, $49.95 (135p) ISBN 978-0-7148-7028-1
This illustrious art book celebrates the Noguchi Museum in its 30th year, by chronicling the way in which "it is currently experienced." Located in Queens, N.Y., the museum was founded in 1985 by Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), an influential Japanese-American artist who worked in a variety of media and forms including drawing, sculpture, and design. The Noguchi Museum was the first U.S. institution founded by a living artist to showcase his own work. In an introduction, museum director Jenny Dixon describes Noguchi's "poetic minimalist aesthetic" as "combining an attention to craftsmanship with a modernist sensibility." His museum, as deftly presented in these pages by photographers Barney and Shore, mirrors those virtues. Many of the museum's art pieces and spaces seem raw, yet they exude a refinement evoking Noguchi's philosophy of design. The acute photographic storytelling simultaneously captures the beauty of the art as well as the ambiance of the museum in action, detailing visitors engaging with the artwork. One of the most endearing images shows a toddler and her mother crouching in one of the galleries, inspecting a group of sculptures, while a young woman lounges on the floor writing or sketching. This scene captures the Noguchi Museum's "sense of sanctuary" and its "intimate, even quirky, charm." This collection handily provides an intimate window through which to experience this unique museum. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/19/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
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