Isamu Noguchi Even the Centipede Kamakura, 1952

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 405 The David Geffen Galleries

When Noguchi made this work he was living in Japan, where, he would recall, “Our house was filled with [centipedes]. I became rather fond of them. . . . When you kill a centipede, the two halves just walk off. This gave me the idea for a sculpture in sections.” The work’s clay elements invoke Japan’s long tradition of ceramics. In memorializing and monumentalizing the centipede, Noguchi was addressing the Buddhist notion of respect for all living things. “The work is a shrine to the centipede,” he said, “or rather the centipede is now enshrined at The Museum of Modern Art.”

Gallery label from "Collection 1940s—1970s", 2019
Unglazed Kasama red stoneware, wood pole, and hemp cord
13' 9 5/8" x 18" (420.6 x 46 cm)
A. Conger Goodyear Fund
Object number
© 2020 Estate of Isamu Noguchi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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