Audio Transcript for Skyviewing Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi was invited to create a sculpture for Red Square in connection with the construction of Miller Hall. At the time, the internationally known artist was in Seattle working on a project for Volunteer Park and the Seattle Art Museum.

Noguchi created models for the sculpture and sent them to a fabricator north of Seattle. After five months, the 12,000 pound steel sculpture was carried on a flatbed truck up Interstate 5 and erected in Red Square in November, 1969. Photographs of this process by the celebrated Northwest photographer, Mary Randlett, are located just inside the front entrance of Miller Hall.

While we may describe Noguchi’s steel sculpture as a tilted cube with cutouts on three sides, its special quality is its weightlessness. Rising on brick piers, Noguchi’s Skyviewing Sculpture invites the viewer into the cube, to sense the uplifting of the sculpture as the viewer looks up and out towards the sky. At night with lights on it, the sculpture takes on a different appearance. Noguchi has said, “I thought of a luminous object as a source of delight in itself. Like fire, it attracts and protects us from the beasts of the night.” The subtleties of space found in Noguchi’s work is also heard in his statement about art and nature.

Noguchi has said:

“Can you really recreate nature or do we go on and do something other? Man’s involvement with nature requires that he leave his imprint there, too, because he is part of nature, too.” (statement from video, Portrait of an Artist. Isamu Noguchi, Bruce W. Bassett, Producer, Home Vision)