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Amy Hau to Helm Noguchi Museum
8. December 2023
Amy Hau (Photo: Cindy Trinh)
Amy Hau, who began her career as artist Isamu Noguchi's assistant in 1986 and for the last eight years has been a principal at New York's WXY Architecture and Urban Design, has been appointed director of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum.
Today's announcement of Hau's appointment to director, which she will assume on January 8, 2024, follows an international search conducted by the museum located in Long Island City, in Northwest Queens. Though international, the search resulted in someone who is both local and part of the family, given that Hau has lived in neighboring Astoria, Queens, for most of her life, since moving there from Hong Kong as a child, and she worked at the Noguchi Museum in various roles over nearly thirty years, from 1986 to 2015. Following her many years at the museum, Hau joined WXY, a New York City firm known for public space and infrastructure projects, eventually becoming managing partner.
“We are thrilled to welcome Amy Hau back to The Noguchi Museum to serve as our next director. While we met many talented candidates during our rigorous and expansive search, Amy’s resume was unique. Her experience coupled with her first-hand knowledge of the Museum and its history, and her deep connections to Queens, made her our top choice.”
Amy Hau and Isamu Noguchi (Photo courtesy of The Noguchi Museum Archives)
World-famous artist Isamu Noguchi, who was born in Los Angeles and raised in Japan before returning to the US as a teenager, established a home and studio in a former factory building in Long Island City in 1961, when he was in his mid-50s. The following decade he bought an empty two-story building across the street, repurposed and expanded it, and in May 1985 opened it to the public as The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum — one year before Hau became his assistant and three years before the artist died at the age of 84.
“As a young woman who began my career in Isamu Noguchi’s studio, it is the greatest honor to be chosen to become the next director of his museum. The exposure and experience I received from my work with Isamu, and later his foundation and museum, forever shaped my professional journey. I look forward to putting this education to good use while working with the Museum’s dedicated Board of Trustees and wonderfully talented staff, as we continue to advance the Museum’s mission, bring forward the creative thinking of artists, strengthen its role as a resource for the people of Queens and beyond, and most of all, honor Isamu’s legacy.”
The museum consists of the repurposed industrial building, an indoor-outdoor gallery structured in concrete block that was added by Noguchi in collaboration with Shoji Sadao, and a triangular sculpture garden also created by Noguchi. In 2016, the museum completed a multi-phase renovation carried out by Sage and Coombe Architects, but given that the building and courtyard occupy the whole of a small triangular block, the most logical means for expansion is across the street. And that is what they are doing: In 2019, the museum unveiled plans by Büro Koray Duman for a new Art and Archive Building adjacent to Noguchi's 1961 studio. That expansion project will be one of the tasks Hau will be responsible for when she takes over as director of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum next month — one year ahead of its 40th anniversary.