NOGUCHI + FULLER | BEST OF FRIENDS

noguchi-fuller

“When Isamu Met Bucky” by David Friedman, ironicsans.com

\\\

I’ve been thinking about R. Buckminster Fuller lately — what a visionary he was and how his inclusive philosophy about this small planet we all share seems so zeitgeisty.

Then it dawned on me that Bucky was friends with another of my heroes, sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

Bucky & Isamu, 1971 (Noguchi Museum)

°

°

°

So, to refresh my memory about their friendship, I went back to my copy of Masayo Duus’ wonderful biography, The Life of Isamu Noguchi: Journey Without Borders:

Author Biography

Author Biography

Isamu Noguchi, born in Los Angeles as the illegitimate son of an American mother and a Japanese poet father, was one of the most prolific yet enigmatic figures in the history of twentieth-century American art. Throughout his life, Noguchi (1904-1988) grappled with the ambiguity of his identity as an artist caught up in two cultures.

His personal struggles — as well as his many personal triumphs — are vividly chronicled in The Life of Isamu Noguchi, the first full-length biography of this remarkable artist. Published in connection with the centennial of the artist’s birth, the book draws on Noguchi’s letters, his reminiscences, and interviews with his friends and colleagues to cast new light on his youth, his creativity, and his relationships.

During his sixty-year career, there was hardly a genre that Noguchi failed to explore. He produced more than 2,500 works of sculpture, designed furniture, lamps, and stage sets, created dramatic public gardens all over the world, and pioneered the development of environmental art. After studying in Paris, where he befriended Alexander Calder and worked as an assistant to Constantin Brancusi, he became an ardent advocate for abstract sculpture.

Noguchi’s private life was no less passionate than his artistic career. The book describes his romances with many women, among them the dancer Ruth Page, the painter Frida Kahlo, and the writer Anais Nin.

Despite his fame, Noguchi always felt himself an outsider. ‘With my double nationality and my double upbringing, where was my home?’ he once wrote. ‘Where were my affections? Where my identity?’ Never entirely comfortable in the New York art world, he inevitably returned to his father’s homeland, where he had spent a troubled childhood. This prize-winning biography, first published in Japanese, traces Isamu Noguchi’s lifelong journey across these artistic and cultural borders in search of his personal identity.

Author Biography

Author Biography

Masayo Duus, a prize-winning author in Japan, has lived in the United States since 1964 and has written widely on the history of Japanese Americans. Among her other works translated into English are “Tokyo Rose: Orphan of the Pacific, Unlikely Liberators: The Men of the 100th and 442nd,” and “The Japanese Conspiracy: The Oahu Sugar Strike of 1920”. Peter Duus is Emeritus Professor of History at Stanford University. His most recent book is “The Japanese Discovery of America”.


[Noguchi’s] creative experiments were reflected in the sculptures exhibited at the Sterner Gallery [in 1930] … The work that attracted the most attention was a dazzling bust of Buckminster Fuller, whose close-cropped head was rendered in chrome-plated bronze. Fuller, a heavyset man shorter than Isamu, had a huge head that seemed to balance unsteadily on his shoulders as an incessant stream of ideas bubbled out of him. What more suitable material could there be for a bust of this unusual genius — an inventor, architect, engineer, designer, and philosopher considered a generation ahead of his times — than dazzling chrome.

– Masayo Duss, The Life of Isamu Noguchi:Journey Without Borders. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006 : 124

fuller_noguchi

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) R. Buckminster Fuller, 1929, Chrome-plated bronze, 33 x 15 x 25 cm, Alexandra and Samuel May, © 2007 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photograph by F. S. Lincoln.

noguchi-fuller

Buckminster Fuller next to his sculpture by Noguchi, 1929. Photography by Noguchi. Source: The Noguchi Museum

°

°

°

Great minds think alike and share. Click here to discover  the circle of friends that Noguchi cultivated over the years.

°

°

°

As a stamp collector, I’m pleased that the US Postal Service has honoured both of these giants of 20th-century thought and design:

3599141966_7243b1b138

Fuller Stamp

In 2006, The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum organized an exhibition entitled “Best of Friends: Buckminster Fuller and Isamu Noguchi,” curated by curated by Shoji Sadao. Wish I could have seen it!

fuller_noguchi-1

Todd Oldham on Noguchi:

Todd Oldman's Noguchi

Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe – Whitney Museum

biweekly_logo_pressoffice

ISAMU NOGUCHI

Advertisements

About this entry