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Oral history interview with Isamu Noguchi, 1973 Nov. 7-Dec. 26

view Oral history interview with Isamu Noguchi, 1973 Nov. 7-Dec. 26 digital asset number 1
Interviewee:
Noguchi, Isamu, 1904-1988
Interviewer:
Cummings, Paul, 1933-
Subject:
Barnard, George Grey
Becker, John Bruere
Borglum, Gutzon
Brancusi, Constantin
Breton, André
Brummer, Joseph
Cahill, Holger
Calder, Alexander Stirling
Calder, Alexander
Collier, John
Covarrubias, Miguel
Davis, Stuart
De Kooning, Willem
Duchamp, Marcel
Egan, Charles
Fraser, James Earle
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster),
Gorky, Arshile
Graham, John D. (John Dabrowsky)
Graham, Martha
Gregory, Peter Ronald
Guston, Philip
Hare, David
Hasegawa, Saburo
Hopkins, Harry Lloyd
Ito, Michio
Kahn, Louis I.
Kantor, Morris
Kline, Franz
Knoll, Hans
Levy, Julien
Léger, Fernand
McMahon, Audrey
Moore, Henry
Neumann, J. B. (Jsrael Ber)
Price, Edison A.
Raymond, Antonin
Reynal, Jeanne
Rivera, Diego
Ruellan, Andrée
Ruotolo, Onorio
Schoen, Eugene
Shoji, Sadao
Stieglitz, Alfred
Taniguchi, Yoshiro
Ward, Eleanor
Zorach, William
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)
Bollingen Foundation
Brummer Gallery (New York, N.Y.)
Japanese American Citizens' League
Japanese American Citizens' League
Leonardo da Vinci Art School
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Unesco
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Other
Physical Description:
Transcript: 148 p.
Audio excerpt: 1 sound file (5 min. 29 sec.) : digital
General Note:
Originally recorded on 4 sound tape reels. Reformated in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hrs., 25 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Summary:
An interview of Isamu Noguchi conducted 1973 Nov. 7-Dec. 26, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
NOVEMBER 7, 1973 session: Noguchi discusses his family background; growing up in Japan; returning to the United States in 1917; his identity as an artist; Gutzon Borglum; Columbia University and studying pre-med; attending Leonardo da Vinci Art School; apprenticing to Onorio Ruotolo; quitting Columbia to become a sculptor; Guggenheim Fellowship in 1927; J.B. Neumann; Alfred Stieglitz; George Grey Barnard; James Earle Fraser; Brummer and the Brummer Gallery; studying at Chaumiere and Collarosi; working with Brancusi; meeting Sandy Calder in Paris; Stuart Davis; Morris Kantor; Andrée Ruellan; his work, "Sphere"; reacting against Brancusi; Eugene Schoen's; his Carnegie Hall studio; Michio Ito; Martha Graham; Buckminster Fuller; traveling in China and Japan; meeting Chi Pai Shi; John Becker; his works, "Play Mountain," "Monument to the Plow," "Monument to Ben Franklin," and "Orpheus" for Balanchine; designing for the stage; Audrey McMahon; Harry Hopkins; Holger Cahill; Mexico; Diego Rivera; Miguel Covarrubias; and the Artists Union.
DECEMBER 10, 1973 Session: His reaction to the Spanish Civil War- avoided direct involvement; Stuart Davis; Gorky; Andre Breton; David Hare; Marcel Duchamp; John Graham; Julien Levy; his artist friends dying at the peak of their success; Leger; Stirling Calder; associating himself with the laboring class; Buckminster Fuller; being American; expanding the possibilities of sculpture; his Associated Press Building project in Rockefeller Center, it being done in stainless steel instead of bronze; John Collier; Japanese-American Citizens League; organizing Nisei Artists and Writers Mobilization for Democracy; Jeanne Reynal; going to Poston, Ariz. to assist with American Indian Service camp under John Collier and becoming an internee there; returning to New York in 1942; Bollingen Foundation; trip around the world in 1949; and Philip Guston.
DECEMBER 18, 1973 session: Best work in studio; reaction against expressionism; artists protesting against the Establishment; his objection to the WPA, influenced by William Zorach; exhibiting in group show called, "Fourteen Americans at the Museum of Modern Art"; show at Egan Gallery in 1949; accepting art in its most aesthetically pure form without reference to social issues; movement in Japan since war to get away from refinement of Japan; Yoshiro Hiro responsible for Gutai and the happenings; his work, "Monument to Heroes," using bones; his work takes years to do; materials used in his work; his work, "Cronos"; doing theater stage sets for the Library of Congress including, "Appalachian Spring" and "Herodiade"; wants a given space which he can call his own and do something with it, has to be a work of art.
DECEMBER 26, 1973 Session: Show with Charles Egan in 1948 arranged by de Kooning; applying to the Bollingen Foundation to write a book on leisure, which was never written; traveling to Italy, Egypt, and India for two years; being removed from the New York scene with Franz Kline and de Kooning; his light objects; sculpture as environment; respect for material; Mondrian and his art deriving from nature; his time in Japan in 1931; visiting Japan in 1951; working in stone; projects in Japan; Taniguchi; Antonin Raymond; designing Japanese gardens; discovery of Zen; Hasegawa Saburo; Skidmore; Hans Knoll; Edison Price; Italy in the 1960s; Peter Gregory; Henry Moore; Louis Kahn; UNESCO; Noguchi Foundation and Plaza Company; Shoji; Eleanor Ward; and his autobiography, "A Sculptor's World."
Citation:
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Isamu Noguchi, 1973 Nov. 7-Dec. 26. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding:
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Biography Note:
Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) was a sculptor from Long Island City, N.Y.
Provenance:
These interviews are part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Topic:
Asian American artists
Gardens, Japanese
Interviews
Sculptors
Sculpture, American
Sculpture, Modern
Sound recordings
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11906
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)216546
AAA_collcode_noguch73
Theme:
Asian American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
Additional Online Media:

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