The first time I saw a Noguchi sculpture, my friend Steven took me. He swore up and down that I would love it. This sculpture was so me. Needless to say, I was mighty excited to see this thing, because Steven is so very infrequently wrong about my taste. Yes, there was drama. He made me close my eyes and he held my hand as I blindly walked through the museum. ‘Open your eyes.’ I was dumb stuck. There was a rock. A rock, on top of a pile of rocks.
In this circumstance, how do you say that you think something is absolute garbage? Right. You don’t say a word. At least I don’t. I nodded. I found something nice to say. The rock was actually a fountain, so there was a watery sound that I like. But he knew. He’s seen me disappointed before.
‘Look. Look,’ he said. ‘It’s like a sheet of glass. You can’t even see the water moving, but you can hear it.’
I thought about that. And I thought that was cool. This was the unlikely beginning of a life long love affair with the rocks of Isamu Noguchi.
One of the things I love about New York is that it is ever changing. If you don’t go to a neighborhood for five years, ten years, guaranteed by the time you head back, the neighborhood will be completely unrecognizable. Now that real estate is more expensive in Brooklyn than in most neighborhoods in Manhattan, which ain’t cheap, Long Island City and Astoria in Queens have become the latest NYC darlings.
On the border where these two neighborhoods meet, you will find the Noguchi workshop and now museum. It is located just across the street from a giant Costco and around the corner from long- established grave stone carvers. Of course, a guy who works with rocks is going to set up next to a stone mason!
The Noguchi Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 to 5 (or 6 on weekends). It’s a bit off the beaten path, but definitely worth the visit. You’ll leave feeling as if you’ve spent a couple of weeks in a Zen monastery.