Coinciding with the 115th birthday of the Japanese-American multi-disciplinary artist his museum launched a digital archive
Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) was famous for his stone sculptures and works in many more artistic disciplines. The Noguchi Museum based in New York City has now launched the digital version of his archive featuring 60,000 photographs, manuscripts, and drawings. It coincides with the artist’s 115th birthday, celebrating his oeuvre by expanding the museum’s web presence and making a trove of resources on his art and life accessible to the public.
Noguchi’s oeuvre ranges from landscape projects to interiors, stage sets to furniture design. An extension of his research into sculpture, some of his most iconic works included a series of paper lamps he called Akari. Throughout his life, Noguchi blended elements of the traditional lantern with electricity, creating contemporary art by marrying ancient craft with twentieth-century technology.
The digital launch of the archive is the result of a major multiyear project, which digitized over 60,000 unique items. This includes over 28,000 photographs documenting Noguchi’s artworks, exhibitions, and studios, as well as the influential figures he knew and worked with and never-before-seen personal photographs documenting his global travels.
„The materials that are now available to everyone with access to the internet manifest the protean, interdisciplinary nature of Noguchi’s work,“ says museum director Brett Littman.
The museum has also updated the Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné, expanding it to around 5,000 works spanning 6 decades and including considerable new research around his earliest artworks and exhibitions: those from the 1920s and 1930s.
Other archival materials now digitalized include correspondence, exhibition and project records, press clippings, and architectural drawings and plans, as well as extensive new documentation of objects and artifacts that Noguchi collected during his lifetime.
Isamu Noguchi Archive