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Noguchi Museum Will Open Sculptor’s Studio to Public After Restoration

Category: Art & Culture,Arts

In the coming years, the public will have the opportunity to visit Isamu Noguchi’s studio at the Noguchi Museum in Queens for the first time. The museum announced on Tuesday that the studio will be restored and opened as part of a plan to expand and unify its campus. A 6,000-square-foot building will also be added to hold the museum’s collection and archives.

“What I really admire about Noguchi was that he was one of the great 20th-century polymaths,” Brett Littman, the director of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, said in an interview. “He worked across so many disciplines.”

Mr. Littman added, “My hope is, by building this art and archives building and opening up the studio building, we’ll now be able to tell more complete stories about Noguchi’s work.” There’s much more to it, he said, than the stone sculptures for which Noguchi is best known.

The studio building, which includes the Japanese-American artist’s pied-à-terre apartment, will be lightly renovated, and original objects from Noguchi’s time will be returned to the space. Tours of the building will be offered, and it will also be used as an event space.

“No one ever really sees it because that building has not been open to the public,” Littman said. “Unless you’ve been to the Noguchi during his lifetime and sat with him, very few people have ever been in the apartment.”

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy flooded the museum’s basement. Luckily nothing was damaged, but afterward some of its collection was moved to various sites in New York for safe keeping. The new art and archives building, designed by the New York-based architects Büro Koray Duman, will allow the museum to bring about 85 percent of its collection back under its roof. The artist’s full paper archive will also be housed in the building.

Construction is scheduled to begin on the art and archive building in January 2020, and that part of the project is expected to take 12 to 18 months. The renovation of the studio building will follow in 2021. Mr. Littman said he expects it to be completed by the end of 2022.

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