Just before Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi died of pneumonia in 1988, he completed his final legacy, the master plan for Moerenuma Park north of Sapporo in Hokkaido. Seventeen years later, the 189-hectare park envisaged by Noguchi as one large sculpture was finally completed in July at a cost of 25 billion yen.

Probably the most consistently innovative and influential sculptor of the 20th century, Noguchi was recognized as a genius early on in his career, winning commissions for site-specific public sculpture, plazas, fountains, gardens and parks all over the world, including the UNESCO Headquarters garden in Paris; the sunken gardens at Yale University, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Chase Manhattan Bank Plaza in New York City; the distinctive water fountain that became a symbol of Osaka’s Expo ’70; and the interior stone landscape for Sogetsu Kaikan in Tokyo.

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