Did you know about Isamu Noguchi’s hidden passion?


Did you know that, for over three decades, Martha Graham danced on and around abstract sculptures designed by Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988)? Yes, the father of the Freeform Sofa and the most famous coffee-table in the history of modern design, also a world-renowned sculptor, and the Grande dame of Modern dance had a perfect connection.


A purely professional one, that is… Their first collaboration was for her 1935 “Frontier,” where western landscape had been suggested by a simple fence and two stretched lengths of rope designed by Isamu Noguchi. (…)

They were both very good at concentrating power,” explains Dakin Hart, senior curator at the Noguchi Museum in Queens, sharing a “dreamy futurism” . Around the same time he met Graham, Noguchi became acquainted with Buckminster Fuller, who influenced his elemental shapes. Noguchi worked with other choreographers, like Merce Cunningham and George Balanchine, but his relationship with Graham is one of the most prolific between dance and visual art, resulting in around 20 sets.

Martha Graham in ‘Cave of the Heart,’ with a set piece by Isamu Noguchi - photo by Philippe Halsman courtesy Martha Graham Dance Company

Martha Graham Dance Company is reviving “Night Journey,” “Appalachian Spring,” “Cave of the Heart,” and “Chronicle,” all Noguchi collaborations, as part of its 90th anniversary season from April 14 to 18 at New York City Center. On February 9, the Company opened a rehearsal of “Night Journey” to supporters of its current Kickstarter campaign, with a walk-through of Noguchi’s sets.

You can read the whole story here, on Hyperallergic and see the pictures they took of the restored sets.




Isamu Noguchi designed sets at Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance photo Hyperallergic




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