Beyond the Pedestal: Isamu Noguchi and the Borders of Sculpture

5 October 2018–6 January 2019

Exhibition Overview

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Isamu Noguchi, Slide Mantra Maquette, c. 1985.

Beyond the Pedestal: Isamu Noguchi and the Borders of Sculpture is a rare Maine retrospective of Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), the Japanese-American artist who became a central figure in the development of 20th-century American modernism.

This exhibition of approximately 40 sculptures and 10 works on paper examines the ways Noguchi reimagined the possibilities of sculpture over the course of his 60-year career, bringing together varied aspects of Noguchi's expansive production—which included traditional sculpture, landscape architecture, memorials, stage sets, interior designs, furniture, and more—and highlighting the artist’s belief that the sculptor’s role was "to order and animate space." Noguchi was as comfortable creating monuments and gardens as he was collaborating to produce industrial design and stage sets. Juxtaposed across the exhibition, his works complicate notions of form and function and use the mix of materials, shapes, and techniques to encourage audiences to reimagine their sense of what sculpture can be.

(Photo courtesy of Portland Museum of Art.)

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