Friday, November 13, 2015

the last book I ever read (Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi by Hayden Herrera, excerpt thirteen)

from Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi by Hayden Herrera:

The creation of a studio/dwelling at 33-38 Tenth Street in Long Island City, Queens, became for Noguchi a central preoccupation in the early 1960s. To turn the factory into a studio with living quarters he had the help of Yukio Madokoro, a skilled carpenter from Japan, and of a young sculptor named Nobu Shiraishi. “The three of us started in the dead of winter to build within the anonymous space my own environment, free of whatever there was outside.” With cement block walls they divided the eighty-by-forty-foot area into three sections: a place to work, a place for storage, and a place to live. Downstairs there was a living room and kitchen with Noguchi-designed tables and a simple foam rubber sofa with bolsters. In the bathroom he installed a traditional Japanese wooden tub. A flight of stairs led to a bedroom that Noguchi arranged in Japanese style with shoji screens (fitted with fiberglass instead of paper) and a low bed. At the foot of the stairs was a tsukubai, or stone basin, for washing ands, and, level with the floor, a flat stone carved to look like the sole of a foot. This was the designated spot where guests took off their shoes and put on Japanese sandals before mounting the stairs. Noguchi’s new space was, he said, “A workshop with living quarter . . . not exactly a home.”

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