"Akari E"

Isamu Noguchi (American, Los Angeles, California 1904–1988 New York)
Ozeki & Co., Ltd.
designed ca. 1951
Mulberry bark paper, bamboo, wire
H. 9 ft. 6 in. × Diam. 18 7/8 in. (289.6 × 47.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Daniel Wolf, in memory of Diane R. Wolf, 1990
Accession Number:
Not on view
The interlocking geometric shapes of this hanging lamp evoke traditional Japanese lanterns. In the early 1950s Noguchi traveled to the Japanese town of Gifu, whose mayor requested the widely respected American sculptor to help revive the dying lamp-making industry for which the town traditionally was known; its craftsmen had been reduced to providing cheap, painted-silk party decorations. The name Akari, which is Japanese for "light," suggests Noguchi's intention to create luminous sculptures that were also practical sources of illumination, underlining the close relationship between art and design.
Ozeki & Co., Ltd., Gifu, Japan (manufactured in 1989 for MMA)

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Century of Design, Part III: 1950–1975," November 28, 2000–April 1, 2001, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Modern Design: Selections from the Collection," May 30–October 5, 2008, no catalogue.

R. Craig Miller. Modern Design in The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1890–1990. New York, 1990, ill. p. 206 (color), calls it "'Akari E' Lamp" and dates it about 1966.

Isamu Noguchi. Isamu Noguchi: Essays and Conversations. Ed. Diane Apostolos-Cappadona and Bruce Altshuler. New York, 1994, pp. 102–4, 148–49, ill. and ill. p. 97 (on "akari" in general).

Takuya Kida. Akari: Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. Ed. Kenji Kaneko et al. Exh. cat., National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, 2003, pp. 17–22, figs. 16–20 (on "akari" in general).