Noguchi Subscapes is a survey of Isamu Noguchi’s particular interest in the unseen and hidden: invisible forces, subterranean structures and their makers, spatial metaphors for the unknown, and the inner recesses of the self. This series of installations of around forty sculptures and designs, mostly drawn from the Museum’s collection and incorporating photographs from the artist’s archive, occupies nearly the entire second floor.
One section of the exhibition is dedicated to archival images and objects from Noguchi’s set design for George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky’s Orpheus. The set design, like the exhibition, offers Noguchi’s exploration of unseen surfaces, but more focused on life and death and the artists’ conceptualization of the Greek hero Orpheus’s artistic vision as a form of blindness. In his notes on Orpheus, Noguchi writes of a silk curtain presenting a passage of life whereas death is seen when the artist’s mask (of blindness) is taken off.