Noguchi Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park

Noguchi Museum New York, Socrates Sculpture Park Design, Civic Action, Neighborhood Renewal

Noguchi Museum + Socrates Sculpture Park : Revitalization

New York Project – Civic Action : A Vision for Long Island City, NY

Jun 24, 2011

Noguchi Museum Project

Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park Explore Neighborhood Revitalization

Address: 9-01 33rd Rd, New York, NY 11106, United States

Phone: +1 718-204-7088


Proposals to be exhibited at Museum in fall 2011; large-scale prototypes to be displayed at Sculpture Park in spring 2012 The Noguchi Museum, founded by Isamu Noguchi in 1985, and Socrates Sculpture Park, established by Mark di Suvero in 1986, have joined together to create Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City. This major project engages the creative intellect of four artist-led teams in conceiving new approaches to growth in the Queens neighborhood in which the two institutions are located and which they helped to shape.

Situated at the border of Long Island City and Astoria, the neighborhood is a vital mix of large open spaces, waterfront, industrial buildings, residences, artist studios, and arts institutions. However, in recent years, this character has been seriously threatened by numerous large-scale buildings that have been designed and constructed without adhering to zoning regulations, and with disregard for infrastructure capacity, traffic, parking, or the resulting loss of affordable housing.

For Civic Action, the Museum and the Sculpture Park invited artists Natalie Jeremijenko, Mary Miss, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and George Trakas to assemble teams that would create visionary scenarios that would enable the neighborhood to continue to serve as a place for the arts, as well as for industry and housing. It is hoped that these scenarios will spark an ongoing dialogue among the creative sector, community stakeholders, and public agencies about how best to manage development. In so doing, Civic Action aims to relieve the tension between the need for growth and the need to maintain the neighborhood’s singular identity.

Noguchi Museum Director Jenny Dixon states, “Civic Action honors the legacy of Isamu Noguchi and Mark di Suvero, whose pioneering commitment to Long Island City launched its regional, national, and international profile. It is hoped that in exploring creative, integrated approaches to planning—ones that embrace the needs of the neighborhood’s diverse stakeholders— Civic Action will create a model that can be used by communities across New York City and beyond.”

Alyson Baker, executive director of Socrates Sculpture Park, adds, “The evolving urban landscape of New York City holds a detailed record of specific actions and projects by artists and architects that provided turning points for the adaptive re-use of neighborhoods. Civic Action aims to provide the next chapter in that history.”

The projects created by the four artist-led teams will be presented in an exhibition opening at The Noguchi Museum on October 5, 2011, comprising drawings, models, photographs, texts, and other material. The exhibition will be accompanied by public programming intended to engage both the communities that bring about development and those that are effected by it. In spring 2012, large-scale prototypes for aspects of the projects will be presented at Socrates Sculpture Park, on the occasion of its twenty-fifth anniversary.

A publication documenting the process and the resulting artworks and installations will be produced at the conclusion of the Noguchi Museum exhibition.

Participants, Process

Each Civic Action artist-led team includes an architect, urban planner, or landscape architect; a writer who is both participating in and documenting the working process; and additional individuals invited by the artist. The management team includes Beckelman + Capalino, strategic advisors to cultural institutions; Claire Weisz, of the New York City-based WXY Architecture + Urban Design, serving as urban strategist; and publication editor Julie V. Iovine, architecture and design writer and executive editor, The Architect’s Newspaper. The project advisory committee includes prominent members of the architecture, design, and real-estate communities, including landscape architect Diana Balmori, architect David Childs, attorney Donald Elliott, architect Hugh Hardy, real-estate executive Richard Maltz, and architect Richard Meier. Curator of the exhibitions at both the Museum and the Sculpture Park is independent curator Amy Smith-Stewart.

The Civic Action teams began their work by immersing themselves in the history of the Long Island City community they are addressing, including the rich legacy of civic projects created by Noguchi and di Suvero. The Museum and the Sculpture Park aided this process by providing an extensive set of physical and digital models, zoning studies, aerial photography, and maps, as well as documentation related to Noguchi’s projects for public spaces and di Suvero’s development of Socrates Sculpture Park. Graduate students from the Department of the Constructed Environment at Parsons School of Design additionally contributed a model of the area.

Final projects are due in July, following which the Museum and the Sculpture Park will help facilitate the production of drawings and models in preparation for the October exhibition.


Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City is generously supported by The Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Opportunities Fund. Additional support is provided, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts and the 42nd Street Fund.

The Noguchi Museum

The Noguchi Museum occupies a renovated industrial building dating from the 1920s. The first museum in America to be founded by a living artist to show his or her work, The Noguchi Museum comprises ten indoor galleries and an internationally celebrated outdoor sculpture garden. It exhibits a comprehensive selection of the artist’s works in stone, metal, wood, and clay, as well as models for public projects and gardens, dance sets, and his Akari Light Sculptures. Together, this installation and the Museum’s diverse special exhibitions offer a rich, contextualized view of Noguchi’s work and illuminate his influential legacy of innovation.

Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park was an abandoned riverside landfill and illegal dumpsite until 1986, when a coalition of artists and community members, under the leadership of sculptor Mark di Suvero, transformed it into an open studio and exhibition space for artists and a neighborhood park for local residents. Today it is an internationally renowned outdoor museum and artist-residency program that also serves as a vital New York City park offering a wide variety of free public programs. The Park was created on the belief that reclamation, revitalization, and creative expression are essential to the survival, humanity, and improvement of our urban environment.

Noguchi Museum Project information from J Collins Associates

Location: Noguchi Museum, New York City, USA

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