Melania Trump Announces a Noguchi Sculpture for the White House
“Unfortunately it comes at a complicated moment,” he said, citing the election. “But the key for us is that this will be on display in perpetuity at the White House. Administrations come and go, but artwork remains. We do feel proud, and we think Noguchi would feel proud as well.”
Noguchi, who was born in Los Angeles and died in 1988, viewed the black patina and bronze piece, which was cast in two parts, as the intersection of a tree and the ground. It reflects the qualities of both an implied root system and the canopy of a tree, Ms. Trump’s office said in a statement.
President Trump, unlike his predecessors, has at times declined to unequivocally condemn the internment camps that Noguchi spent time in. Asked in 2015, before he was elected, whether he would have supported the internment of Japanese-Americans, he responded: “I certainly hate the concept of it. But I would have had to be there at the time to give you a proper answer.”
Noguchi’s time in the Arizona relocation center was explored by the Noguchi Museum in an exhibition, “Self-Interned, 1942” in 2017. Noguchi’s sculptures, some made during his detention, were accompanied by letters and documents that shed light on his failed efforts to humanize the camps. The New York Times critic Jason Farago called the exhibition both “illuminating” and “dispiritingly relevant.”
Noguchi had been exempt from an executive order that enabled the military to round up Japanese-Americans in California, Oregon and Washington State, as he lived in New York.