Apr 13, 2012

Isamu Noguchi's inspiration

Architect Buckminster Fuller developed the "Dymaxion House"
to address shortcomings in contemporary architecture. Noguchi
met Fuller in the late 1920s and they collaborated on preliminary
models for Fuller's Dymaxion series. 
One of Noguchi's earliest inspirations was
dancer Michio Ito. He was a Japanese dancer
and choreographer working in New York,
and encouraged Noguchi to pursue the arts.
Ito was eventually interned and deported from
the United States during WWII. Noguchi himself
asked to be placed in an internment camp.
Constantin Brancusi, "Bird in Space"
Onorio Ruotolo, "Betsy Ross 1940"
Alfred Stieglitz, "Hand with Buttons"
Qi Baishi's traditional brush paintings
Alfred Stieglitz pioneered avant garde photography,
elevating the medium to fine art.
Constantin Brancusi was born in Romania but
worked in France. His sculptural work is very
geometric and abstract -- many call him the father
of modern sculpture.
Constantin Brancusi, "The Newborn"
Constantin Brancusi, "La Negresse Blonde"
Constantin Brancusi, "Mademoiselle Pogany"

Constantin Brancusi's studio in Paris -- where Noguchi went
to study in the 1920s with a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Isamu Noguchi & Martha Graham

Noguchi's experimentation with form and design is apparent from his very first introduction to art (primarily through sculpture) under the apprenticeship of Onorio Ruotolo. Noguchi began as a pre-med student at Columbia University, but soon realized that art was his passion. While in New York during the decades leading up to WWII, Noguchi was influenced by the growing abstractionism scene, which included Stieglitz's photography and J.B. Newman's sculptures. After winning the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, he was able to travel to Paris and study with one of his greatest role models, sculptor Constantin Brancusi. He returned to the states and began making busts of Martha Graham and Buckminster Fuller -- which attracted Graham's attention. Noguchi and Graham began their artistic partnership with Noguchi as Graham's set designer in 1934 during the performance of Frontier (video), making over 20 sets for Graham's performances.

"Everything is sculpture...Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture."

"The essence of sculpture is for me the perception of space, the continuum of our existence."

Martha Graham, one of the foremost influences on modern
dance, especially in America. Noguchi designed many of the
Graham sets. In this picture, Graham is wearing a dress
inspired by Noguchi's design was for Graham's ballet,
"Cave of the Heart."

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