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September 24, 2013

NOGUCHI AND PAGE COMBINED

Already Ruth Page revisits an old friend. If you happen to be on the east coast, there is a collaboration of two artists you don’t want to miss. The work of Ruth Page and Isamu Noguchi can be seen starting tomorrow at the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York.

Space, Choreographed: Noguchi and Ruth Page was developed in a collaboration between The Noguchi Museum and The Ruth Page Foundation, building on a group of drawings Japanese-American artist, Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), made of the great American avant-garde dancer and choreographer Ruth Page (1899-1991) posing in a sack dress he designed in 1933 to transform her into a dynamic embodiment of his 1932 sculpture Miss Expanding Universe.

That piece had emerged from Noguchi’s extensive efforts to find a distinctive way to abstract the human figure- efforts greatly enhanced by his contact with modern dance, and Page’s form in particular- his study of ink wash painting with the Chinese painter Qi Baishi, and his best friend, the eccentric futurist genius Buckminster Fuller, a sort of Three Musketeers of American ability and aspiration, had been captivated by a series of lectures popularizing Edwin Hubble’s recent discovery that the universe was neither static nor tidily Copernican. It is hard to conceive a better visual metaphor for Hubble’s new picture of the universe, a pulsating amoeba of out-rushing matter, than Page in Noguchi’s sack dress.

The exhibition explores Noguchi and Page’s personal relationship and their two professional collaborations: the constellation of objects and performances that includes Miss Expanding Universe, the dress and the dances it inspired and Page’s post- World War II dance The Bells, based on Edgar Allen Poe’s poem of the same name, for which Noguchi designed costumes and a set. (description courtesy of the Noguchi Museum)

Chicago Film Archives continues to unearth, preserve, catalog and digitize the many performances and rehearsals in its Ruth Page Collection. This work is wholly sponsored by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Below is a 1938 performance of EXPANDED UNIVERSE, featuring costumes by Noguchi. Head on over to our Ruth Page Collection finding aid to view a growing number of digitized films (63 and counting!) from the collection.


EXPANDED UNIVERSE  aka VARIATIONS ON EUCLID [circa 1938, 16mm., B&W, SIlent, found in CFA's Ruth Page Collection]

 

Space, Choreographed: Noguchi and Ruth Page

September 25, 2013 through January 26, 2014

Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road, (at Vernon Boulevard)
Long Island City, NY 11106
718-204-7088

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