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Early Patterns: Reintroducing Akari of the 1950s

05/17/2023 - 05/28/2023
11:00 am - 6:00 pm

The Noguchi Museum Shop will present six rare models of Akari light sculptures designed by Isamu Noguchi in the early 1950s, and make these designs available for sale in North America for the first time in decades.

The six Akari, produced by their original manufacturer Ozeki & Co., Ltd. in Gifu, Japan, are tabletop scale and feature lacquered bamboo collars (wa), directly relating them to more traditional forms of the Japanese lantern but with Noguchi’s signature departures. Five of the six Akari feature colorful, abstract patterns silk-screened onto the mulberry bark (washi) paper. Among these five, the 9AY (a variation of the 9A, one of the first two Akari forms Noguchi recalls that he conceived of after a revelatory nighttime fishing trip in Gifu in 1951) features a yellow checkerboard motif, possibly a nod to the traditional Japanese pattern known as ichimatsu, also later seen in Noguchi’s exhibition design and his own living space.

These early designs for Akari were first shown in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura, in 1952, and at the Chuo Koron Gallery, Tokyo, in 1954. In the decades following, these particular models became available only in limited quantities in Japan and France, until now, as the Noguchi Museum expands its offerings to showcase the entire range of what remains in production of Noguchi’s iconic light sculptures.

The presentation in the Museum Shop, aligning with the exhibition of the 2023 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize at Isamu Noguchi’s Studio (May 17–June 18), will be the public’s first opportunity to view the works in-person and purchase them prior to their availability online, and will also include archival materials related to the history of Akari.

In addition to the Craft Prize and Shop presentations, visitors to the Museum will see its current exhibition ‘Noguchi Subscapes’, a survey of Noguchi’s particular interest in the unseen and hidden: invisible forces, subterranean structures and their makers, spatial metaphors for the unknown, and the inner recesses of the self.

Museum Hours:
Wednesdays—Sundays (closed Mondays & Tuesdays)
11 am–6 pm

Learn more at https://shop.noguchi.org/.


05/17/2023 - 05/28/2023
11:00 am - 6:00 pm EST


The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road
Long Island City, NY 11106 United States
Event Format
Live (indoor)
Event Type
Open to Public
Design Discipline
Product Design, Interior Design