Noguchi Museum gets $4.5 million to restore sculptor’s studio – ARTnews.com

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New York City will invest $4.5 million in the ongoing overhaul of the Isamu Noguchi Museum, custodian of the famous Japanese-American artist’s sculptures and drawings, city officials announced Thursday.

The announcement came from Laurie Cumbo, commissioner of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), who visited the Noguchi Museum Thursday, a few blocks from the Long Island City riverfront.

Cumbo announced that the museum had received capital funding of $4.5 million, with $1.5 million coming from Mayor Eric Adams and the remainder from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. The funds are part of a historic $220 million investment by DCLA and City Council and Borough Presidents in more than 70 cultural organizations across the city, including the Queens Museum and the Artist-Run Residency Program Factory flow.

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The cornerstone of the Noguchi Museum’s expansion and unification project is a restoration of the artist’s original 1959 living and studio space located across from the museum. Once completed, the public will be able to tour the studio building for the first time in its history.

Brett Littman, director of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and the Garden Museum, said in a statement: “Isamu Noguchi was a fearless, category-defying interdisciplinary polymath, and our new Noguchi Campus, which will include the Art and Archives Building and the renovation of his 10th Street studio and apartment, will allow us to better reflect on the complex nature of Noguchi’s work and life.

Littman expressed the museum’s gratitude to Cumbo, Mayor Adams and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards for “their support and investment.”

Plans to unify and expand the Noguchi campus were first announced in April 2019. It includes a new two-story, 6,000 square foot building adjacent to Noguchi’s studio to house the collection and archives of the museum.

Noguchi was born in 1904 to a Japanese poet father and an American writer mother. He moved to New York in the early 1960s, establishing a humble base in Long Island City, then a steel district, which he described as “a house inside a factory”. His world-renowned practice spanned furniture design, outdoor sculpture and theater sets, all marked by his use of natural elements that evoked organic forms. Noguchi died in 1988, just three years after founding his museum and sculpture garden.

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