art/design

イサム・ノグチ美術館The Noguchi Museum

© The Noguchi Museum

© The Noguchi Museum

Calmness like Japanese garden has. The Sculptures seem to be waiting to be interpreted. Away from the bustle of Manhattan in Long Island, Queens, The Noguchi Museum has a slow and relaxed atmosphere that is unique to this placeまるで日本庭園のような佇まい。解釈されるのを待っているかのような彫像群達。マンハッタンの喧騒から離れたクイーンズ、ロングアイランドシティーにあるイサム・ノグチ美術館には、ここにしかないゆったりとした時間が流れる。周りは倉庫街のためとても静かで館内には木漏れ日が差し込み、そこには何も邪魔するもののない空間が広がる。元々工場だったという建物を改装したこの場所は、単なる美術館という枠を超えそのスペース自体が憩いの場として機能しているように感じる。

エントランスをすぎると光の差し込む広々とした屋外空間のなか彫刻群が来園者を迎え、その後2500平方メートルの広さの2階建ての本館建物に入る。1階展示室では常設してある代表的な作品群が見れ、ビデオ上映などもされている。2階展示室ではイサム・ノグチが「AKARI」と呼んだ室内照明などがメインに展示されている。そして建物の外の日本庭園に影響を受けたという彫刻庭園でもイスに座りゆっくり彫刻群を鑑賞することができる。大理石、石、鉄などそれぞれの素材を生かした彫刻が並ぶ。一つの素材から削ったもの、パーツを組み合わせたようなもの、さらにはどうやって精製したのだろうというものまでそれぞれの作品がキャラクターをもっていて見ていて飽きることが無い。

イサム・ノグチは生い立ちを見ればわかるように、彼の中で東洋と西洋が自然な形で入り交じったきわめて稀なアーティストといえる。1904年にロサンゼルスで生まれたノグチは3歳の時に来日、幼少期を日本で過ごすも1918年に再び渡米。ニューヨークを拠点として活動するも奨学金を得てパリに留学し、その後もヨーロッパ、アジアなど世界各国を芸術家として何度も旅している。第2次世界大戦を経て、再びアメリカと日本を行き来するもアメリカ人であり日本人であったノグチには常に様々な困難が伴ったようだ。そのようなバックグラウンドが反映された彼の作品群は、単なる和洋折衷などではなくもっと精神的なものから生まれているように見える。

建物と彫刻庭園が有機的に融合したその美術館自体がイサム・ノグチの大きな作品であるこの場所では、くつろいだ心地でゆっくりと彼の作品を鑑賞することができる。彫刻家でありインテリアデザイナー、造園家、画家、舞台芸術家でもあったイサム・ノグチ。ここではそんな彼の才能を存分に感じるれる場所である。館内にはカフェもありノグチのAKARIに囲まれ、親交のあったイームズのイスにすわり優雅な時を過ごすことができる。彼の作った作品群にひたり館内をゆっくりと見て回れば、イサムノグチという横文字のなかにある世界における日本人らしさというものを発見できるかもしれない。この美術館を訪れれば間違いなくリラックスした充実の時間を過ごせるはずである。

イサム・ノグチ美術館
住所:9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard), Long Island City, NY 11106
営業時間:10:00〜17:00(土・日曜日 11:00〜18:00)
定休日:月・火曜日  
TEL : 1 718 204 7088
http://www.noguchi.org

Text: Yuji Shinfuku
. The local area is very quiet where all of the neighbours are just warehouses, so the sunlight comes through the foliage in the garden and nothing can disturb your time there. The building was renovated from a factory, and now it is more than just a museum, this space itself is a place of relief for everyone.

Since The Noguchi Museum opened in 1985, when Isamu Noguchi was still alive, to now the museum has fascinated visitors. This was the first institute that the artist made for himself in the United States, the museum was designed by him too. The museum consists of the part which was a factory before, and the part which Noguchi designed, as well as the sculpture garden. In some parts of the building we can still see the reinforced concrete which was a feature of the factory, but those disparate parts seem to have combined somehow with Noguchi’s art pieces in the museum.

After the entrance, there are sculptures in the bright outside space which welcome visitors, and it is then that you will see the two storey main building which has a 2500 square meter floor. We can see his representative permanent collection on the first floor and there is also a film screening about Noguchi’s life. On the second floor, interior lights which Noguchi called AKARI are displayed. Outside of the building, there is a sculpture garden with a Japanese garden influence and there you can sit on a chair and enjoy the sculptures. The sculptures are made from marble, stone, and iron sand, from which the charm of the materials is fully brought out. There are sculptures such as one which is carved from just one material, another one which is a combination of many parts, and another which makes it impossible to imagine how it was created, each one has its own character and we never get tired of looking at them.

Looking at his personal history, he is a very rare artist inside of whom the west and the east had mixed naturally within him. Born in 1904, in Los Angeles, he came to Japan at the age of 3 and spent his childhood in Japan, but in 1918 he moved back to the United States. He worked mainly in New York but went to Paris to study after getting a scholarship, he often traveled in Europe and Asia too. After World War II, he went back and forth between America and Japan but he always had difficulties – he was American when he was in Japan, but he was Japanese when he was in America. His work seems to have been influenced by his cultural spirit which reflected his background, which wasn’t just a blend of west and east.

This museum itself is one of Isamu Noguchi’s biggest art pieces where a building and sculpture garden have been combined very naturally together and here we can appreciate his work with a relaxed mind. He was a sculptor, interior designer, landscape architect, painter, and stage designer. Here we can appreciate his talent which was beyond classification for as long as we want. There is a cafe area in the museum where it is possible to have a graceful time sitting in the chairs by Erms, who was a friend of Noguchi, while being surrounded by AKARI. If you take the time to walk through the museum and immerse yourself in Noguchi’s world, perhaps you will find the essence of Japan that Isamu Noguchi tried to find in his world. I guarantee that if you come to this museum you will have a meaningful and relaxed time.

The Noguchi Museum
Address: 9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard), Long Island City, NY 11106
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Saturday and Sunday 11:00-18:00)
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Tel: 1 718 204 7088
http://www.noguchi.org

Text: Yuji Shinfuku

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