If you have never visited Isamu Noguchi’s public art/public park/sculpture garden installation in the heart of Costa Mesa, then you have missed one of Orange County’s treasures. Hidden away (but very accessible) among the high rises and freeways of the city, California Scenario — also known as the Noguchi Museum — is as calming and inspiring as a Japanese tea garden. The park is located adjacent to South Coast Plaza and depicts various landscapes of California. It is a pleasure to behold both during the day and at night when special lighting enhances the experience.
Now (and through October) the Laguna Art Museum honors both the California Scenario and other works by the Southern California artist with the exhibit: ‘Noguchi: California Legacy.’ The exhibit features both photos of the construction and completed sculpture garden as well as other works by Noguchi. Born here, the artist has spent much of his life in his native Japan and in New York. But he was convinced by Costa Mesa developer Henry Segerstrom to develop this unique space set in the middle of downtown Orange county. The sculpture park was completed in 1980 and has been one of OC’s hidden gems ever since.
Over the course of a few years, I often used to meet my mother for lunch somewhere in Costa Mesa with our eventual destination being Noguchi’s installation. It was and remains a beautiful location for strolling, sitting, contemplating, meditating.
Thanks to the Laguna Museum exhibition, we can get a closer look at this very wonderful place.
Richard Chang in the OC Register writes:
This exhibition provides narrative and context for his Southern California work, especially “California Scenario,” which remains one of Orange County’s best and most accessible public artworks.
Over the course of two years, Noguchi and his staff worked hard to create an abstract, metaphorical representation of California’s natural resources. Noguchi used natural materials – trees, plants, stones, sand and steel – to create six main sections, each one symbolizing an aspect of California’s diverse environment: desert, forest, mountain, river, agriculture and urban.
The titles Noguchi designated for these sections reflect Noguchi’s interests and goals: “Land Use,” “The Desert Land,” “The Forest Walk,” “Energy Fountain,” “Water Use” and “Water Source.”
The exhibit continues at the museum through October 2 and while it is not a complete catalog of Noguchi’s work, it is a fine way to begin to know the artist who created the beautiful California Scenario.Share on Facebook