Isamu Noguchi and Modern Japanese Ceramics: "Tamaki
Isamu Noguchi and Modern Japanese Ceramics
A Close Embrace of the Earth
With contributions by Bruce J. Altshuler and Niimi Ryu"
Description | About the Authors | Related Books
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian
Institution, Washington, D.C.: May 4-September 7, 2003
The Japan Society, New York: October 16, 2003-January 11, 2004
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles: June 6, 2004-September 6, 2004
--Art In America
"Address the personal and artistic issues behind Noguchi's engagement with Japanese earth, the complex milieu of Japanese cermaics in the immediate postwar period and the reception of Noguchi's ceramic work in the United States."--American Craft
"It is a rare pleasure to find a thoughtful, readable book that opens a new perspective on a major artist by revealing a hitherto little-known facet of his career. . . . Beautifully illustrated."--Library Journal
DESCRIPTION (back to top)
Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) is renowned for his stone and bronze sculpture, his gardenlike installations in public spaces, and his furniture designs. Far less familiar, but no less important, is Noguchi's work in clay, which he executed in three intensive sessions in 1931, 1950, and 1952, all during visits to Japan. The pieces included in this elegant volume and the accompanying exhibition comprise the first major museum presentation of Isamu Noguchi's ceramics and the introduction of the work of major postwar Japanese ceramic artists with whom Noguchi collaborated or interacted. Supported by four linked essays and opulently illustrated in full color and black and white, Isamu Noguchi and Modern Japanese Ceramics highlights the sculptor's struggles with cultural identity and his experimentation with the conflicts between modernity and tradition.
Noguchi's sculptures in the medium of clay reveal informal, spontaneous, and humorous aspects not visible in less flexible media such as bronze or stone. Through clay, Noguchi probed unresolved personal issues surrounding his ambiguous cultural identity as the son of a Japanese father and American mother. Because Noguchi made his ceramics in Japan, his work also creates links to a diversity of approaches within the ceramic world of Japan. These range from traditionalists such as Kitaoji Rosanjin and the Living National Treasure designates, to primitivists exemplified by Okamoto Taro and Tsuji Shindo, to avant-garde experimentalists led by the Sodeisha group. An understanding of the nature and scope of the concerns Noguchi expressed through clay is crucial to understanding his work as a whole, and consideration of Japanese ceramic artists in the 1950s reveals a largely unknown genre of modern Japanese art.
Copublished with the Smithsonian Institution
ABOUT THE AUTHORS (back to top)
Louise Allison Cort is Curator of Ceramics at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. She has published widely on the subject of ceramics. Bert Winther-Tamaki is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Art in the Encounter of Nations: Japanese and American Artists in the Early Postwar