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Cutting Edge: Noguchi’s Aluminum Monolith Sesshū

Noguchi, Sesshū, 1958 and detail

Cutting Edge: Noguchi’s Aluminum Monolith Sesshū, 1958
January 22–March 15, 2020

Isamu Noguchi’s Sesshū (1958) exemplifies the Japanese American artist’s commitment to synthesizing disparate cultures through his work. Noguchi attributed his long-standing interest in making three-dimensional sculpture from two-dimensional materials to his childhood training in origami and kirigami—the Japanese arts of cutting and folding paper. Off view since 1968, the recently conserved Sesshū was created from a single sheet of Alcoa (Aluminum Company of America) manufactured aluminum, which was not considered a fine art material in the 1950s. The artist used industrial equipment to cut and bend the flat sheet into a screenlike form.

 

Images (from left): Isamu Noguchi, Sesshū, 1958. Aluminum, 99 x 45.5 in. Gift of an Anonymous donor; Isamu Noguchi, Sesshū (detail), 1958. Aluminum, 99 x 45.5 in. Gift of an Anonymous donor.