Museum Stories: New York

What’s Your Favorite? Here is one of mine.

DT5728Water Stone by Isamu Noguchi

Time stills as the flat surface of the water rises inside the stone and then spills over the brim. I think theater or dance or someone chanting. It is possible to sit on a bench alone in the Japanese Art galleries of the Metropolitan Museum to enjoy this installation (best perhaps early in the day). Isamu Noguchi carved the basalt basin on Japan’s Shikoku Island, home to Ise Jingu, Shinto’s most important shrine. He sourced the white rocks from the Isuzu River near the shrine. The opening in the basin is said to suggest a Zen Buddhist enso symbol—a hand draw circle—symbolizing tranquility, the universe, and mu (the void). So, get into the mu. Let me know what you think below. And, please tell me your favorite New York Museum Story?




2 thoughts on “Museum Stories: New York

  1. Nearly 20 years ago, Pat Anderson cajoled me into the Met because I had to see this rock. I don’t think I’d ever been near the Asian arts section before. We hurried by teapots and kimonos and then sat on the bench opposite this black sculpture. It was quiet. The still water on the top was mesmerizing. Not a bubble, not a wave yet small drops and rivulets slowly made their way down the different shades of dark rock, some noiseless, some falling over larger crevices to ring on the white stones below. I’ve thought of this often. Such serenity. An artist saw the spirit inhabiting this piece in a quarry or wherever he found it and shaped it only enough to bring the water element to it, augmenting both rock and water. It’s a gift I hope I’ll see again.


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