A master of “the sculpturing of space,” Isamu Noguchi was an important figure for modern public art. Born to an American mother and a Japanese father, Noguchi never felt like he belonged anywhere and spent his life assembling identities in his statues, monuments, and gardens. He travelled incessantly from New York to remote Japanese islands, from Paris to Bangladesh, synthesizing aesthetic values. The result–massive sculptures of interlocking wood, Zen-like granite gardens, and stone slides–is now seen as a powerful artistic link between East and West.
Drawing on Noguchi’s correspondence and interviews with artists, patrons, assistants, and lovers, Hayden Herrera creates another compulsively readable biography of one of the twentieth century’s most influential artists. Noguchi was elusive, forever uprooting himself to reinvigorate what he called the “keen edge of originality.” Yet Herrera locates this man in his friendships with artists like Buckminster Fuller and Arshile Gorky and his affairs with women like Frida Kahlo. Herrera reveals his playfulness and intense immersion in his work, from designing sets for Martha Graham to creating the Noguchi Museum in Queens.
Listening to Stone is a rich meditation on art in a globalized milieu, Listening to Stone is a moving portrait of an artist compulsively driven to reinvent himself as he searched for his own “essence of sculpture.”