Monday, June 7, 2010

Forgotten Already?? [AIC: Noguchi Fountain]

Is this Noguchi Fountain out of people's mind already???
And less than 35 years old, installed in 1976,
at a cost of [approx.] $ 250,000..
Not only is it not open for the summer as yet, in the sense that the water is not running in what is supposed to be a fountain.. What's even more unfortunate, baffling and frustrating is that even the staff members of the place where it belongs, are oblivious of it's existence!! And it's at a place entrusted with preserving the arts through the ages, The Art Institute of Chicago.. I have always spoken very highly of this place, but this time I had a feeling of sadness and regret. Although I would still say that the people were very courteous, and tried to help out, but no one seems to know about it. And courtesy is no substitute for knowledge..

And I'm not talking about just one person,
I asked about this fountain at the front desk at the Michigan Avenue entrance.. No one seemed to know about the existence of this fountain. Then I went to the Members Lounge, and even there the same reaction, the same blank faces.. What was I talking about???
I gave all the clues..
- Is a fountain on the East Side of the building..
- It's by Isamu Noguchi..
- It's funded by B.F.Ferguson Fund, managed by the Art Institute trustees..
- It was commissioned to commemorate America's Bicentennial Celebration..
None of the clues worked..
I was very politely told that there are only two fountains at the Art Institute.. One is in the South Garden and the second in the McKinlock Court [which amusingly wikipedia writes as McClintock Court .. click here..]..
And I was insisting..
There are three fountains at the Art Institute of Chicago..
- Fountain of the Great Lakes ..
- Fountain of Tritons.. and..
- Isamu Noguchi Fountain..
Incidentally, all the three are commissioned by the B.F.Ferguson Monument Fund..

I did a quick google search, and no image of the fountain popped up.. So here is a post to document one almost forgotten fountain in the heart of the City of Chicago..

Noguchi Fountain..
By Isamu Noguchi..
Location: Art Institute of Chicago [AIC] - East Side..
Commissioned by the B.F.Ferguson Fund..
In celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Founding of the Republic..

Fortunately the official website of the City of Chicago mentions it..
And here's what it writes..

A commemoration of the American Bicentennial, Celebration integrates the visual poetry of a Japanese garden with the precision of modern technology. Because he was deeply affected by the duality of his heritage, California-born sculptor Isamu Noguchi always tried to fuse diverse influences in his art. He selected three-million-year-old rainbow granite from a Minnesota quarry for this fountain and used state-of-the-art power tools to shape it. The geometric shapes actually represent forms from nature. The upright, L-shaped pillar is “like a tree,” said the sculptor, with water rising up the tall column and flowing down its front. Water also spills out from the low horizontal cylinder, which is split down the middle to resemble a natural spring...

Not to forget.. the three-million-year-old rainbow granite ..
The work was commissioned by the trustees of the B.F. Ferguson Monument Fund at an approximate cost of $250,000..

For more on.. [click on the link]..
- B.F. Ferguson Monument Fund..
- The Art Institute of Chicago...


Arayan said...

I hope your efforts to remind the fountain will pay off soon so we can see it with water flowing. Please send new pictures when it's working and wet.

Douglas said...

I have commented on your blog long time back. But follow it regularly. As a keen observer, I would say, you are getting better. Keep up your good work. This is one of your best. It borders around journalism.

Gregory H. Jenkins AIA said...

I see that I am not the only person who thinks that you are changing, improving. It is impossible not to notice.

Anonymous said...

What a shame! Thank you for drawing attention to this! I, too tried searching this fountain, as I have been to the Institute many times, and it never ringing a bell, and came up with the same search results: bare none.

Long live Isamu!