Exhibitions

Isamu Noguchi

Outer Space

outer space installation shot.

Installation view of Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. All works ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York.

The photograph of Sculpture to Be Seen from Mars (1947) shows the model for an unexecuted land work designed to serve as a cenotaph for humanity. It demonstrates Noguchi’s long-standing interest in leveraging the exploration of outer space to expand his perspective. He was particularly drawn to the paradox that while we associate space with a science-fiction future, nearly everything in outer space is billions of years old and made of rock. Space blot represents an amorphous celestial body such as a nebula as if it were as hard-edged and easily defined as a piece of sheet metal. A physical joke, it illustrates Noguchi’s modern appreciation of the universe as a spreading agglomeration of indistinct forms and imperfect geometries rather than a tidy series of concentric circles.


Sculpture to be Seen from Mars made of sand.
Isamu Noguchi
Model for Sculpture to be Seen from Mars

1947
(no longer extant), sand.
© The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York. Used by permission.
Space Blot made of hot-dipped galvanized steel.
Isamu Noguchi
Space Blot

1982-1983
Hot-dipped galvanized steel.
© The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York. Used by permission.
Lunar Table made of granite
Isamu Noguchi
Lunar Table

1961-1965
Granite.
© The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York. Used by permission.