This past weekend, I visited the National Portrait Gallery, where my favorite exhibit featured Isamu Noguchi, a prolific artist and sculptor. Most of us know Noguchi because of the iconic coffee table he designed. Born in 1904, in Los Angeles, his father was a Japanese poet, his mother an Irish/American writer. Throughout the exhibit, his Japanese sensibility is very clear. Slabs of stone, polished in areas, yet much left raw, create opposing surfaces. In my eye, many pieces evoke the Japanese ideal of wabi sabi, or beauty in imperfection. There are cracks in some of the art pieces which were left on purpose and in one case, a chunk of stone missing from a large sculpture. Again, making one think about the definition of beauty and how contrary forces can be complimentary. The lighting and furniture designs seem current, even though they were designed during the 1940's. As with all great art, his work is as relevant today as when it was created.
If you'd like to see the exhibition, please check with the National Portrait Gallery as it is not listed under Current Exhibitions on their website so I don't know how long it runs.