Noguchi Museum Hires New Director
Posted February 6, 2018 12:14 a.m. EST
NEW YORK — The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City has appointed a new director: Brett Littman, current director of the Drawing Center. He will take over the job in May, succeeding Jenny Dixon, who retired after 15 years at the helm.
The museum has expanded both physically and artistically over the years. Dixon led a renovation of the museum’s building and sculpture garden in 2004, and recent exhibits have focused on the work of other artists besides its founder, Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi.
Littman led the Drawing Center for a decade, including through a $10 million renovation and expansion that revamped its portion of a 160-year-old cast-iron building. After switching jobs, he will still curate an exhibition of the work of German artist Neo Rauch that will open at the Drawing Center in April 2019.
In a phone interview Monday, Littman said one of his main goals was to use his new position to augment the legacy of Noguchi, who died in 1988 at age 84, within the contemporary art world. “My dream would be to see Noguchi in the next Venice Biennale,” he said. But he also placed an emphasis on making room in the museum for other artists: “He was always interacting and working alongside many different kinds of practitioners. I think the development of that program alongside the permanent installation is absolutely essential.”
Littman expressed interest in expanding the museum’s live music programs in the sculpture garden to include genres outside of classical, and in re-engaging with some of Noguchi’s design prototypes, like his “Radio Nurse,” an early baby monitor.
And he is familiar with the rapidly developing neighborhood: Littman previously served as deputy director of MoMA PS1, also in Long Island City. “You have a community that is not culturally underserved but definitely needs things to do,” he said. “I think Noguchi can be that place.”