The Noguchi Museum has just announced that the inaugural Isamu Noguchi Award to recognize like-minded spirits who share Noguchi’s commitment to innovation, global consciousness, and Japanese /American exchange. The first recipients of the award are internationally renowned architect Lord Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto, considered one of Japan’s most important contemporary artists. Motohide Yoshikawa, Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations, will present the award during a special ceremony at the Museum’s annual Spring Benefit on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.
During a lifetime of artistic experimentation that included everything from sculptures and gardens to lighting designs and architecture, Noguchi set a new standard for the reintegration of the arts. He championed artistic collaborations, developing projects with artists of varied disciplines such as Martha Graham, John Cage, George Balanchine, and the Japanese stone carver Masatoshi Izumi to name a few. Noguchi Museum Director Jenny Dixon stated, “The Isamu Noguchi Award serves to establish a dialogue with Noguchi’s profound legacy of innovation. We are honored to celebrate Lord Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto, whose exemplary work we believe demonstrates principles similar to those that inspired Noguchi.”
Foster and Sugimoto’s artistic ideals and standards make them the perfect fit for the Isamu Noguchi Award. Foster is known for his remarkable architectural projects around the world, many of which honor and respect Noguchi. One example is Foster’s Hearst Building, which incorporates Noguchi and Buckminster Fuller’s tensegrity systems. Sugimoto’s multifaceted career also reflects the true mission of the award. As seen in the subject matter of his photographs, Sugimoto represents globalism, a concern that speaks directly to Noguchi’s own commitment to Japanese/American exchange.
Lord Norman Foster is Recognised as one of the world’s great architects, Lord Norman Foster is known for his complementary yet ultra-modern reinventions of classic buildings and for his simple, streamlined new structures. His architectural signature is a design that opens a building up to the public, is mindful of the environment, and saves money by using modern materials and advanced technology. Born in 1935 in Manchester, England, Foster studied architecture at Manchester University’s School of Architecture and at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1963 he co-founded Team 4 and in 1967 he established Foster Associates, now known as Foster + Partners. Founded in London, it is now a worldwide practice, with project offices in more than twenty countries. Over the past four decades the company has been responsible for a wide range of work, from urban masterplans, public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices and workplaces to private houses and product design. The practice has received 650 awards and citations for excellence and has won more than 100 international and national competitions. Norman Foster has received numerous awards as well including the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, the Gold Medal for the French Academy of Architecture, the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal. Foster was granted a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List, 1990, and appointed by the Queen to the Order of Merit in 1997. In 1999 he was honored with a life peerage in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List, taking the title Lord Foster of Thames Bank.
Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in Japan in 1948, Hiroshi Sugimoto has been a photographer since the 1970s. Sugimoto’s oeuvre deals with history and temporal existence by investigating through a variety of subject matter issues surrounding time, empiricism, and metaphysics. Seascapes, Theaters, Dioramas, Portraits, Architecture, Colors of Shadow, Conceptual Forms and Lightning Fields are among his many series. Sugimoto has received a number of grants and fellowships, including from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His work is held in the collections of the Tate Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of New York, among many others. Portraits, initially created for the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, traveled to the Guggenheim New York in March 2001. Sugimoto received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2001. In 2006, a mid career retrospective was organized by the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. A monograph entitled Hiroshi Sugimoto was produced in conjunction with the exhibition. He has also had one-person exhibitions at the Japan Society, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; MOCA Los Angeles; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; MCA Chicago; and Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, among others. He received the Photo España prize, also in 2006, and in 2009 was the recipient of the Paemium Imperiale, Painting Award from the Japan Arts Association.
Photos L to R Hiroshi Sugimoto, Isamu Noguchi, Lord Norman Foster