Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Black Sun

Black Sun by Isamu Noguchi (1969).

I've always loved Isamu Noguchi's designs - both furniture, sculpture and gardens. In front of the Seattle Asian Art Museum there is an excellent example of his work: the Black Sun from 1969. I love the heavy, flowing, organic form, contained within the eternity of the circle. And the little "bottom" seen at the right side of the circle (or maybe it isn't, but that's how I see it), it just adds a touch of surprise and wit to the massive sculpture.
Displaying sculpture outdoors gives it an extra dimension. It seems that both the viewer and the work (sculpture, that is) can breath more freely when placed in open air. Or just as Tina writes on her blog The Garden Design Chronicle:
"More often than not I find sculpture soothing. I’m not really sure why this is. I like the interaction the artworks have with the surrounding environment something that you really do not obtain in a gallery. There is no interaction. They are merely objects in space, demanding your full attention. Perhaps I like the fact that the outdoors reduces the artworks demands on you. I feel free to take them in or not. I feel free to eat a sandwich, read a book, close my eyes. None of which I can do in a gallery. A sculpture garden allows me to be human."

The view towards downtown Seattle makes a dramatic background to the Black Sun. I just wonder how it would look like on a more serene site, with lots of lush green around and waves of the sea quietly lapping behind it...? Anyway, The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, N.Y. is high up on my "what to do during the U.S. years" list! (the sculpture garden is being renovated and will re-open in November 2008).

The Seattle Asian Art Museum seen throught the Black Sun.


Unknown said...

I just thought I'd come and see your latest post and agree that it is an arresting work but would be even more so in a green environment. And then as I read on ... a quote from me! I feel very flattered. It's a mutual admiration society. I'll be back.

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Thanks, Tina. I really thought your writing expressed exactly my thoughts about sculpture in gardens, so I thought you would not mind my quoting you. I'm going to visit a scupture park with lots of native plants here in Seattle, and we'll see what comes out of that!

Anonymous said...

That's so funny about the "bottom" in the sculpture, I've looked at it a million times and never noticed it. The Noguchi Museum is definitely worth the trip, even though it's small. So cool and when we were there (years ago) we had it almost to ourselves. It was a bit of a trek to get to, several subway rides plus a long walk. Maybe there's a better way now!