Akari: Sculpture by Other Means and Akari Unfolded: A Collection by YMER&MALTA at The Noguchi Museum, through May 5, 2019

Akari: Sculpture by Other Means occupies the Museum’s second-floor galleries, with three distinct areas that together explore the versatility, impact, and flexibility of Noguchi’s exquisite paper-bamboo-and-wire lanterns. Including more than 100 Akari, representing about forty individual models, the exhibition allows visitors to experience the ways that Akari can create and transform space. Several installations, including a floor-to-ceiling Akari “cloud” and three Akari “rooms,” create a series of environments that convey the essential values of Akari, drawing on the organizational, structural, and ephemeral qualities of nature, and exemplifying Noguchi’s concept of light as both place and object. A substantial selection of archival material comprises vintage photographs, advertisements, and Akari brochures, all suggesting Noguchi’s thinking about the presentation of Akari as a continually shifting enterprise. 

Akari Unfolded: A Collection by YMER&MALTA presents 26 lamps created by this leading French design studio. Six designers were tasked with exploring the essential values of Akari and how Noguchi might work with new materials and processes to expand the wider universe of his light sculptures. The resulting designs are not variations on Akari, but an exciting proof of how Noguchi’s sophisticated hybridities, such as craft and industry, and tradition and progress, continue to provide a powerful model for contemporary design.” — The Noguchi Museum

Installation view, Akari in the Archives. Photo by Nicholas Knight. ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS).

Installation view, Akari in the Archives. Photo by Nicholas Knight. ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS).

Installation view, Akari in the Archives. Photo by Nicholas Knight. ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS).

Isamu Noguchi, Paris Abstraction (1928), and Akari VB-13 (1986). ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS).

(From left) Isamu Noguchi, Akari H (c.1977), 125F (1971), 15A (1953), and 32N (1969), on BB2 and BB3 bases (1954). ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS).

Isamu Noguchi, Akari Cloud, Akari A, D and F series (c.1954–1971). ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS).

Isamu Noguchi, Akari PL2 (c.1973), and Akari 1A, 1952 (inside). Wood enclosure by The Noguchi Museum (2018). ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS).

Akari PL2 (c.1973). Wood enclosure by The Noguchi Museum (2018). Isamu Noguchi, Akari 200D for the 1986 Venice Biennale (1985). ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS).

(From left) YMER&MALTA / Benjamin Graindorge, edaLight . Paper, metal, concrete, LED. YMER&MALTA / Sylvain Rieu Piquet, Galet . Resin, linen fiber, LED. YMER&MALTA / Sebastian Bergne, Poise . Paper, metal, LED. Courtesy of The Noguchi Museum.

(From left) YMER&MALTA / Sebastian Bergne, Poise . Paper, metal, LED. YMER&MALTA / Nendo, Light Fragments . Acrylic, metal, LED. YMER&MALTA / Océane Delain, Belle de Jour. Resin, linen, metal, LED. YMER&MALTA / Océane Delain, Belle de Nuit. Porcelain, metal, LED. YMER&MALTA / Benjamin Graindorge, edaLight . Paper, metal, concrete, LED. Courtesy of The Noguchi Museum.

(From left) YMER&MALTA / Océane Delain, Belle de Nuit. Porcelain, metal, LED. YMER&MALTA / Océane Delain, Belle de Jour. Resin, linen, metal, LED. Courtesy of The Noguchi Museum.

YMER&MALTA / Nendo, Light Fragments . Acrylic, metal, LED. Courtesy of The Noguchi Museum.

The exhibitions are organized by The Noguchi Museum. Akari: Sculpture by Other Means is curated by Senior Curator Dakin Hart; Akari Unfolded: A Collection by YMER&MALTA is curated by Mr. Hart in collaboration with YMER&MALTA Director Valérie Maltaverne. 

Images courtesy The Noguchi Museum.