Rei Kawakubo will receive the 2019 Isamu Noguchi Award from the Noguchi Museum.
The award, which will be presented at the museum’s annual benefit on May 2, is given to individuals who share Isamu Noguchi’s spirit of innovation, global consciousness and commitment to East-West cultural exchange.
Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garçons and cofounder of Dover Street Market, is also involved in graphic design, advertising and interiors for her businesses, which she considers to be inextricable components of her aesthetic vision. Her work has appeared in several exhibitions, including a solo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017, which was only the second monographic show awarded to a living designer by The Met. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Comme des Garçons.
According to The Museum, “Rei Kawakubo has consistently defied notions not only of beauty, but also of what fashion can be, at once confounding our expectations for clothing — and like Noguchi — challenging the idea that design and art are inherently different endeavors.”
Kawakubo received the Fashion Group International Award in 1986 and the Excellence in Design Award from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2000. In 1993, she was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. She divides her time between Tokyo and Paris.
Founded in 1985 by Isamu Noguchi, a leading sculptor and designer of the 20th century who died in 1988, the Noguchi Museum was the first museum in America to be established, designed and installed by a living artist to show their own work. The museum comprises 10 indoor galleries in a converted factory building, as well as an internationally acclaimed outdoor sculpture garden. In addition to housing the artist’s archives and the catalogue of his work, the museum exhibits a comprehensive selection of sculpture, models for public projects and gardens, dance sets, and his Akari light sculptures.
The museum is based at 9-01 33rd Road — at Vernon Boulevard — in Long Island City in New York.
Previous recipients of the Isamu Noguchi Award have been Lord Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto, Jasper Morrison and Yoshio Taniguchi, Tadao Ando and Elyn Zimmerman, John Pawson and Hiroshi Senju, and Naoto Fukasawa and Edwina von Gal.