Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden
The inaugural installation in the museum's new Sculpture Garden, Isamu Noguchi at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is an extraordinary selection of sculptures by an artist who had longstanding ties with the museum and our late Director Anne d'Harnoncourt, and is represented in the collection by the wonderful cast-bronze biomorphic Avatar, (1948).
In the mid-1960s, Noguchi recognized his preference for stone above all other materials and by the end of the decade he established a studio on the Japanese island of Shikoku where he carved the large granite and basalt sculptures that culminated his career. Most of these late sculptures have large areas of unworked surface, presenting the stone as it emerged from the earth and embodying Noguchi's philosophy that sculpting should follow the potential and characteristics of the material used.
Isamu Noguchi at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the result of a collaboration with The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in Long Island City, New York. The sculptures will remain on view through summer 2011.
The Sculpture Garden
The museum's new, one-acre, terraced Sculpture Garden was designed by Olin landscape architects working with Atkin Olshin Schade Architects. It received official commendation from the United States Environmental Protection Agency for its environmentally friendly design. The museum worked closely with Olin to incorporate plantings that attract and provide a sustaining habitat for local wildlife—and was recognized for that effort with a Citation of Merit from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Sculpture Garden presents a superb and versatile outdoor setting for the appreciation of art, offering a lively experience of sculpture for both the casual passerby and devoted art lovers. Gracefully integrated into the existing landscape, the Sculpture Garden extends the museum's vast galleries to the outdoors while strengthening the Museum's connections to the city and Fairmount Park. Its pathways and vistas, green space, and water feature create a variety of spaces for art while maintaining an open setting that invites Philadelphia's public to explore a new expression of the museum's goal to make more art available to an ever-growing audience. As the Sculpture Garden's grounds will reflect the changing seasons, so will its artistic offerings.