Internationally acclaimed sculptor Isamu Noguchi, 81, represents the United States at the 42nd Venice Biennale, which opens today in Italy and runs through Sept. 28.

Noguchi’s presentation, called “Isamu Noguchi: What Is Sculpture?,” is the first major European exhibition of the Los Angeles-born master. It was organized for New York’s P.S.1 The Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc., by Henry Geldzahler, guest curator at P.S. 1 and 1986 Commissioner of the American Pavilion.

Among the works featured are “Slide Mantra,” a spiral slide of Carrara marble resting on a bed of wood chips in the central plaza; “Akari” light sculptures (in two galleries redesigned by architect Arata Isozaki in collaboration with Noguchi), and “Tetra Helix,” a steel sculpture based on the Japanese tradition of spiral lanterns and the artist’s study of biology and physics.

“The balance Isamu Noguchi strikes between his deep respect for nature and his always startling originality, makes the study of his work constantly revealing,” Geldzahler said in a prepared statement. “No one knows better than Noguchi when to leave things as he finds them: a few deep chisel marks or a dislocation of five stones from one environment (quarry or beach) to another (garden or art gallery) render the fulfillment of a gesture.” American artists Mark Innerst, Mark Tansey, Kevin Larmon, Sarah Charlesworth and Rene Santos represent the United States in the “Aperto’ 86" exhibition that showcases younger talents from around the world.


“Vienna 1900: Art, Architecture & Design,” the first major exhibition encompassing the complete range of Viennese visual arts and architecture produced between 1898 and 1986, opens at New York’s Museum of Modern Art Thursday and runs through Oct. 21.

The exhibition of some 700 works offers a glimpse into a period of Viennese history when the city was an important cultural center and played a crucial role in the birth of modernism. The emotionally charged, sensuous works of Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoshka and Egon Schiele are a focal point of the exhibition.

The first of the seven sections in the exhibition is devoted to paintings (1898-1907). It focuses on the Vienna Secession, a group of 19 artists headed by Klimt who defected from the leading conservative artists’ society to exhibit the most advanced work of Austrian and foreign artists. This is typified by Jugendstil design of the period, in fabric, furniture, decorative arts and the graphics of the Secessionist publication “Ver Sacrum.”

The second segment presents Klimt’s great “Golden Style” (1906-1909) in which he indulges in his love of lavish decoration and languid sensuality. The third part examines the revolution against Jugendstil and the shift to a new geometric or rational design, demonstrated by the collaborative Wiener Werkstatte design workshop.


Section four deals with folk influences from 1908 to 1915, when a tendency toward Expressionism became evident. Part five concentrates on drawings, notably those of Schiele, Klimt and Kokoschka, all of whom created graphic work independent of their paintings. The sixth section focuses on major paintings by Kokoschka and Schiele, as well as late paintings by Klimt and early Expressionist work by the ill-fated young Richard Gerstl and the composer Arnold Schoenberg.

The show winds up with a display of architectural drawings and models including a full-scale reconstructed facade representing key buildings by architects Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffman, Adolf Loos and Joseph Maria Olbrich.

Kirk Varnedoe, adjunct curator of the department of painting and sculpture and professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, organized “Vienna 1900.”

An exhibition titled “New Collage 1986: A Southern California Competition,” selected by art critic Robert Pincus, opens Tuesday at the Design Center of Los Angeles, 433 S. Spring St., and runs through Aug. 29.


After reviewing hundreds of slide entries, Pincus chose 46 works by 25 artists that, in his words, “make lively use of the collage approach to picture making.”

Artist Kamol Tassananchalee, president of the Thai Arts Council in Los Angeles, has assembled the works of six of Thailand’s most noted artists for an exhibition sponsored by the Thai Arts Council at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, Saturday through July 27. All of the artists involved have participated in numerous exhibitions in Europe and Asia.