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On Becoming an Artist Exhibit

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On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and His Contemporaries,1922-1960 recently opened at the Noguchi Museum. Marking the museum’s 25th anniversary, the exhibition looks at how Noguchi’s network of friends, mentors and colleagues influenced his work and helped him throughout his prolific career. Objects on view include personal correspondence, architectural models, paintings, drawings, musical scores, photographs, and furniture, inviting viewers into Noguchi’s biography and oeuvre. One thing not on view: his ubiquitous 1947 coffee table. Instead, curator Amy Wolf opted to display things that haven’t been exhibited before, including a c.1945 marble-top table, and c.1941-1942 mosaic-top table, both prototypes. I chatted with Ms. Wolf at the opening, and here’s what she had to say.

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  On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and His Contemporaries is on view at the Noguchi Museum in Queens until April 24, 2011.
    On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and His Contemporaries is on view at the Noguchi Museum in Queens until April 24, 2011.
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  In researching for the exhibition curator Amy Wolf discovered this mosaic-top table (c. 1941-1942). She came across one of Noguchi’s archived letters mentioning the idea and a thumbnail sketch and decided to do some digging. Prior to her research, the museum didn’t know this table existed. A prototype never put into production, the table is one of a kind and has never been displayed. The c .1945 mahogany lamp at left was produced by Knoll.
    In researching for the exhibition curator Amy Wolf discovered this mosaic-top table (c. 1941-1942). She came across one of Noguchi’s archived letters mentioning the idea and a thumbnail sketch and decided to do some digging. Prior to her research, the museum didn’t know this table existed. A prototype never put into production, the table is one of a kind and has never been displayed. The c .1945 mahogany lamp at left was produced by Knoll.
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  Noguchi’s personal network is a who’s-who list of artists, dancers, designers, and architects, all neatly organized in this graphic. Analyzing these relationships helps to better contextualize Noguchi’s work.
    Noguchi’s personal network is a who’s-who list of artists, dancers, designers, and architects, all neatly organized in this graphic. Analyzing these relationships helps to better contextualize Noguchi’s work.
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  The comprehensive exhibition offers a diverse selection of Noguchi’s work and is organized thematically. Of note is the furniture on display, which traces the how Noguchi’s designs evolved over time.
    The comprehensive exhibition offers a diverse selection of Noguchi’s work and is organized thematically. Of note is the furniture on display, which traces the how Noguchi’s designs evolved over time.

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