Listening to Stone - Cover Art
Listening to Stone – Cover Art

Listening to Stone 

by Hayden Herrera

A master of what he called “the sculpturing of space,” Isamu Noguchi was an essential figure for modern public art. Noguchi, born to an American mother and a Japanese father, never felt at home anywhere and spent his life creating identities through his sculptures, monuments, and gardens. He constantly travelled, combining aesthetic values from New York to rural Japanese islands, from Paris to Bangladesh. Massive interlocking wood sculptures, Zen-like granite gardens, and stone slides are now recognized as a vital creative link between East and West.

Hayden Herrera creates another compulsively readable history of one of the twentieth century’s most influential artists, based on Noguchi’s letters and interviews with artists, supporters, aides, and lovers. Noguchi was elusive, forever uprooting himself to reinvigorate what he called the “keen edge of originality.” On the other hand, Herrera finds this man in his friendships with artists such as Buckminster Fuller and Arshile Gorky, as well as his relationships with women like Frida Kahlo. Herrera exhibits his fun side and deep commitment to his job, from establishing the Noguchi Museum in Queens to designing sets for Martha Graham.

Listening to Stone is a fascinating depiction of an artist who was obsessively compelled to reinvent himself as he searched for his own “essence of sculpture” in an interconnected world.

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