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No Stone Unturned

Art & Design

Presenting a Polymath

Uruguayan sculptor Gonzalo Fonseca (1922–1997) studied the natural sciences, linguistics, and history, synthesizing the varied disciplines in his intricate, singular forms. His works resemble ruins, ships, ancient artifacts, or small, strange, stone dollhouses. Through March, the Noguchi Museum in Queens hosts the first New York museum exhibition of the artist’s work since 1971. A key figure in modern Latin American art, Fonseca used limestone, brownstone, and sandstone from the city and eventually marble from Italy as well; gazing at the works on view, you’re also viewing New York geological history.

American artist Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) founded and designed the museum, which opened in 1986. The reflective, industrial space offers a respite from the city among Noguchi’s totemic, lyrical forms. In the other temporary exhibition, Self-Interned, 1942: Noguchi in Poston War Relocation Center, learn about the artist’s time voluntarily submitting himself to a Japanese internment camp. If the works signify a beauty that derived from a particularly ugly period in American history, they also ask us to reconsider the way that our prejudices manifest today.