Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, an Isamu Noguchi maquette

Isamu Noguchi
maquette for pylon, Detroit Civic Center Plaza
1971
aluminum
6.5 w x 6.5 d x 31 h inches
This work is unique.
Sale by auction Oct. 7. Estimate 50k – 70k.


Shouldn’t the Detroit Institute of the Arts buy this? I think so. Even though they’re as strapped as the auto industry.

How about the great Noguchi Museum?

Here’s a photo as built.



It’s got a little


St. Louis Arch in it, don’t you think?, he asked archly.

Gateway Arch, Eero Saarinen, opened 1967.

Some thirty years later, came the twisting buildings, sometimes based on sculpture, such as

Santiago Calatrava’s “Turning Torso” in Malmo, Sweden. (Broke ground in 2001.)

In Detroit Noguchi’s pylon stands in Hart Plaza (1972-79)

eight urban acres in Detroit, a modern “environment of leisure” on scale with the public monuments of the ancient world that Noguchi sought to update.”

between the Civic Center and John Portman’s Renaissance Center. With


a (not very good) fountain by Noguchi – the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain (1978).

When it opened, Hart Plaza was a popular meeting place. In light of Detroit’s urban troubles, this lack of events makes me wonder if Hart Plaza is still popular. Anybody know?

And how about the Noguchi pylon? Does it still cut the sky sharply, reaching for eternity?

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One Response to “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, an Isamu Noguchi maquette”

  1. Remiss63 Says:

    The twisting pylon and the fountain both have features that remind me of Saarinen’s design for the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis.

    The Twisting Pylon is clearly related in terms of materials and aesthetics.

    The Hart Fountain forms a kind of archway (two stainless steel legs) but the axial focus that an arch creates is interrupted by the granite fountain base. The composition results in a stronger vertical axis from deep within the earth, through the granite orifice and outward and upward into the heavens through the metal ring / UFO sort of shape.

    I was similarly disappointed by the fountain (at least the upper structure of it) having visited during the daytime. However, I suspect the design becomes much stronger and more ephemeral at nighttime.

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