Bruce Altshuler is Director of the Program in Museum Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University. From 1992 to 1998 he was Director of the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Long Island City, New York. Altshuler is the author of Biennials and Beyond: Exhibitions that Made Art History, 1962-2002 (Phaidon Press, 2013), Salon to Biennial: Exhibitions that Made Art History, 1863-1959 (Phaidon Press, 2008), The Avant-Garde in Exhibition: New Art in the 20th Century (Harry N. Abrams, 1994; University of California Press, 1998) and Isamu Noguchi (Abbeville Press, 1994), editor of Collecting the New: Museums and Contemporary Art (Princeton University Press, 2005), and co-editor of Isamu Noguchi: Essays and Conversations (Harry N. Abrams, 1994). He has published numerous essays on modern and contemporary art, including catalog essays for exhibitions organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, Japan Society, Fundacion Juan March, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and Vitra Design Museum. From 1994 to 2000 he was a member of the graduate faculty of the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, and a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Art Critics/United States Section. From 1985 to 1989 he was Director of Zabriskie Gallery, NY, and in 1998-2000 was Director of Studies at Christie's Education, NY, and a Vice President at Christie's, Inc.
This invaluable new monograph offers a provocative chronicle of the man and an enlightening analysis of his art.
A man of inexhaustible energy and invention, the sculptor Isamu Noguchi was always in motion. His career extended for more than sixty years, during which he often worked simultaneously on many diverse endeavors.Born in the United States of mixed parentage, Noguchi had a Japanese childhood and an American adolescence. His notion of modern art was forged in the Paris studio of Constantin Brancusi and modified through the utopianism of R. Buckminster Fuller. Combined with his experience of the traditional Japanese house and garden and with his work on the avant-garde stage of Martha Graham, these influences led him toward a broadened conception of sculpture as the creation of social space.
In pursuit of this ideal, Noguchi created plazas and gardens, furniture and interiors, ignoring the boundary between art and design. But he also continued the carving of stone and wood that brought him critical attention in New York during the 1940s, and the stonework he did during his last decades, in his studio complex on the Japanese island of Shikoku, allowed him to integrate his metaphysical concerns with modernist sculptural practice.
Ranging across this century and filled with engaging persons and places, Noguchi's story is a compelling one, told with refreshing verve and insight. Little-known documentary photographs from the artist's own archives and striking full-color images from every aspect of his multifaceted career complement the perceptive and gracefully written text.
About the Modern Masters series
With informative, enjoyable texts and over 100 illustrations — approximately 48 in full color — this innovative series offers a fresh look at the most creative and influential artists of the postwar era. The authors are highly respected art historians and critics chosen for their ability to think clearly and write well. Each handsomely designed volume presents a thorough survey of the artist's life and work, as well as statements by the artist, an illustrated chapter on technique, a chronology, lists of exhibitions and public collections, an annotated bibliography, and an index. Every art lover, from the casual museumgoer to the serious student, teacher, critic, or curator, will be eager to collect these Modern Masters. And with such a low price, they can afford to collect them all.