A Modernist in Yorkshire

Sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi crossed many boundaries – his Japanese-American background transcended East and West, and his work also spanned art and design. He considered himself a sculptor of spaces and his influential body of work includes garden and landscape design, vast public sculpture and stage sets. His elegant and much-copied Coffee Table is an icon of Modernist furniture design and he collaborated with Charles Eames, Paul László and George Nelson on a catalogue of furniture widely considered to be the most influential of its time. Until now, European audiences have lacked a large-scale exhibition of this broad oeuvre, so Noguchi and Iconic Designers, which opens today at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park Garden Gallery, is both welcome and overdue. A dramatic wave of Akari light sculptures stretching the length of the gallery’s long concourse introduces the exhibition. The historic grounds of the park are home to Noguchi’s monumental stone carvings, while the gallery features his ceramics, set designs, drawings, models and works on paper. There’ll be design classics too, from pieces such as the Cylinder lamp to the Prismatic table. The show also features a selection of work by other designers, many of whom were influenced by, or collaborated with, Noguchi, including pieces by Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Gehry and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. It’s a winning combination – inspirational work in a beautiful setting and, if the weather plays fair, a perfect summer day out. Noguchi and Iconic Designers is at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park Garden Gallery, Wakefield WF4 4LG from 18 July to 22 February 2009

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