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Looking Up: The Skyviewing Sculptures of Isamu Noguchi

Looking Up: The Skyviewing Sculptures of Isamu Noguchi


Author: Hafthor Yngvason, Matthew Kirsch, & Kate Wiener | Hardcover

Isamu Noguchi’s Skyviewing Sculpture was created by invitation for Western Washington University, north of Seattle, in 1969. The 14-foot high sculpture, which sits in the university’s central quad, acts as an observatory, encouraging viewers to enter and turn their gaze to the sky. ‘Skyviewing’ was a leitmotif in Noguchi’s art throughout his long career as an artist and landscape architect, from his early work alongside Constantin Brancusi in Paris in 1928 to his death in 1988. Some sculptures act as reflecting telescopes with polished stone that mirror the firmament while others trace the path of the sun with cast shadows or lead the eye up towards the sky. The work at Western invites the viewer in, and guides the eye upwards to observe the sky in all of its variety.

Looking Up explores Noguchi’s work on the themes of space, charting our place in the universe, and ‘skyviewing’; examines the changing artistic climate during his long career; and places him in context with a younger generation of artists, including Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, James Turrell, and Charles Ross. The book includes essays by leading specialists, as well as a plate section and contemporary photos of the creation, transportation and installation of Skyviewing Sculpture .