Behind the Scenes with Isamu Noguchi

“You can find out how to do something and then do it or do something and then find out what you did.” — Isamu Noguchi

“Hammer, Chisel, Drill” is a fitting title to honor the practice of an artist unafraid of the physical labor of a hard day’s work. Through April 28th, The Noguchi Museum presents an exhibition—the first of its kind—in honor of the distinct studio methods of Noguchi, which presents an array of over sixty tools (hammers, chisels, and drills, among others) in combination with film footage, archival photographs, and finished and unfinished sculptures of the late artist. With this rare insight into Noguchi’s techniques, it is clear how his hands-on approach was a defining trait in the physical nature of his every endeavor.

Isamu Noguchi working on Akari design, 1951, photographer unknown; Isamu Noguchi working on ceramics in his Kamakura, Japan Studio, c. 1952, photographer unknown; Isamu Noguchi working in his Long Island City studio, c. 1960s, photo by Walter Reiser; Isamu Noguchi in Long Island City studio with works, 1966, photo by Kaz Inouye; all images courtesy The Noguchi Museum.