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Noguchi, Noguchi, Noguchi
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"Noguchi, Noguchi, Noguchi, His art was really swell…"

For those musical fans, sung to the tune of "Shipoopee, Shipoopee, Shipoopee, " from the Music Man (not one of the best songs in THAT show. Okay not one of my favorite shows, but I was Ethel Toffelmier, the player piano player. Who played the player piano…oh never mind.

For s.f. fans who go back far enough, sun to the tune of "The Hugo! The Hugo! The Hugo! You may just win one yet!" from the Mimeo Man. Thank you, Suzle (proving not only that all knowledge is contained in fandom but all knowledge is contained in Vanguard, the local long-lived Seattle fan group) and Stu then offered the vaguely remembered lines leading up to that:

"When you publish a zine for the very first time,
It's usually quite cruddy --
When you publish a zine for the second time 'round,
It can astonish, it can astound,
You'll want the Hugo!
The Hugo! The Hugo! The Hugo! That rocket's hard to get!"

Sunday we went to Settle Art Museum for a special exhibit of works by Isamu Noguchi. I've been really taken by his work since I was a kid My mother worked for years at the main "campus" of Connecticut General Life Insurance in Bloomfield and I was there several times - even for a summer job. There was the Noguchi sculpture of The Familiy there. It had grounds, yeah, gardens that he designed in; Bloomfield, Connecticut. It's now "CIGNA" and a Google check brings up the header that the campus is one of eleven of the most endangered historical places in 2001 because the parent company wants to demolish the 1957 building and create "offices stores and houses clustered around a golf course." ( Yeah, Connecticut needs more golf courses.

As I grew older, I saw Noguchi's work again and again; I'm a long time fan of dnace and if you ever have seen Martha Graham's company, as I have, you've probably seen Noguchi's work. He even supplied some props (for "Orpheus" by the dreaded Balanchine (sorry, I really dislike 99.5 percent of the work of this hallowed choreographer.) Stage props and stage set designs, from Graham's Greek myths to the oh-so-heartland Appalachian Spring. (pause here now for internal delivery of "Martha Graham Martha Graham Martha Graham! Twyla Twyla" from Robin Wiliiams' hysterical ad lib monologue from "The Birdcage" which is yet another standard chez Roscoe.)

And I end up here in Seattle, where Noguchi's Black Sun sculpture dominates the view at Volunteer Park. (see for some basics of his stuff; he assisted Brancusi for several months, by the way, and it shows, we thought, in some of his sculptures. His own, but influenced.)

So it was way cool. Okay, okay, except for the room that was so badly designed, despite looking lovely, because it was not accessible for a wheelchair; slate pathway on stones, not wide enough. One could go around the edges; I walked much of it to see things, with Stu there helping me walk, but it was wrong and annoying and so bad. Bad enough that Kate, who had brought us as her guests (Kate and Glenn are members and can bring guests - often that's us, and OH MAN are we grateful), went and filed a complaint.

There was much to like to look at. Noguchi designed practical things like sofas and tables as well as stage forms, swimming pools and fountains as well as paper lights/lanterns and indescribable metal objects like "Medea's dress" with these metal pieces sticking out for a dancer to wear in "Cave of the Heart". There were several videotapes (which we thought looked either speeded up or slowed down, but since one showed Graham herself, they were ooooolllld) and that often helped, especially with the metal thingy. To see how it moved when the dancer moved (and I kept saying "can you imagine the first rehearsals with that?") It's so cool to see, it really is. The guy worked with wood, metal, stone - lots of stone - and it's just so cool to see some of these familiar objects and some I never knew about (the model for Josef von Sternberg's pool and there's Stu saying "I didn't know he was that small". Thank you thank you…)

On the other hand, not only did the lard headed curator (who apparently was the reason that room, beautiful but inaccessible was the way it was - so far, that's the museum's line) but the first room was pitch dark. We were warned it would take a while coming in from outside for our eyes to adjust; they couldn't adjust it was D-A-R-K. Enough that the guard I the room was equipped with a flashlight. It was too dark to read the catalogue to see what you were seeing. Oh yeah, and the curator apparently decided not to put labels up so there was no information on the wall, or the standing exhibit telling you what you were seeing. It was all in the paperwork you were given. Which contained items that in fact were not ON display, so it got confusing at times.

Then I went to the special exhibit gift shop and spent money. Museum gift shops are evil places and they should be banned. There is always something that catches my eye that oh I must have; at least this time it wasn't a $95 Van Gogh theme teapot.

Starting In October, there's a Louis comfort Tiffany exhibit. I DO hope the curator doesn't decide everything should be 20 feet off the ground and unlit. Or whatever.

Noguchi, Noguchi, Noguchi, he's really really neat.
Noguchi, Noguchi, Noguchi, his artwork's such a treat.

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