Behind the Scenes at the Noguchi Installation
This week, staff from The Isamu Noguchi Museum and BBG, along with a team of expert art handlers, installed a series of sculptures by the renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi. The sculptures will be on display this fall as part of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Here’s a look at the process:
The proper placement of sculptures that weigh thousands of pounds is not easy. The highly skilled handlers used a forklift and heavy-duty gantry to make surprisingly precise maneuvers. It was not uncommon to hear instructions like “rotate four degrees clockwise, now move it back six inches to the right.”
The Noguchi Museum installs its sculptures off-site up to three times a year. Expertise in placing the works is crucial—the same rigging team has worked with the museum for 20 years and handles most of its installations.
The exhibition at BBG presented unique challenges. The team had to consider the intention of Noguchi himself, along with the relationship between each work and its particular surroundings. There were also plenty of practical matters to account for—like stabilizing heavy sculptures on uneven ground while protecting BBG’s plants and grounds.
Exhibiting Noguchi’s work at BBG is very much in keeping with the artist’s feelings that it should be seen outside of the gallery and in natural settings. Planning took a year, and the sculptures are meant be interpreted through their relationship with their surroundings.
Isamu Noguchi at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, featuring 18 of the artist’s sculptures sited among the Garden’s living collections, opens September 8 and runs through December 13.