Isamu Noguchi

Sculpture or Playground?

Every time I see this photo, it strikes my artistic sense and saddens my playful side. Though this is not a fair assessment of Noguchi as a whole (to be honest my opinion of him is torn between love/hate), when I look at this photo above, and even at some other projects, I always have this sense of isolation, simplicity, disappointment and boredom.

I understand that at least one of his goals were to introduce shapes, colors, form to children through interactive sculpture, but in many cases to make the jump and call it a play-ground seems extreme.  Piedmont Park, in Atlanta GA, below, is an example of one of those Noguchi playgrounds that I'm not really a fan of. Swing here. Jump here. Climb here. Most of this below just feels prescriptive and like 'equipment', rather than something more.

 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA, USA (1)

Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA, USA (1)

Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA, USA (1)

 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA, USA (1)

Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA, USA (1)

 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA, USA (1)

Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA, USA (1)

Let's pivot though and look at the Noguchi I DO like!  His work at Moerenuma Park, at Sapporo, Hokkadio, Japan is definitely getting closer to my sentiment of successful sculpture-as-playground, mostly because the sculptures are (a) far more complex in design, (b) open-ended in terms of type of movement use (less clear what I am 'supposed' to do on each individual thing) and (c) more inter-generational / multi-age friendly.  Plus The larger sculptures feel less like isolated objects in a field and more like encompassed play spaces.

  Moerenuma Park, at Sapporo, Hokkadio, Japan (2)

Moerenuma Park, at Sapporo, Hokkadio, Japan (2)

 Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Japan  (2)

Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Japan (2)

  Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Japan (2)

Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Japan (2)

 Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Japan,  Photos by  Marcus Trimble .

Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Japan,  Photos by Marcus Trimble.

  Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Japan

Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Japan