Skip to main content
Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Listening to Stone

Listening to Stone

The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi

Hayden Herrera

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


A master of what he called "the sculpturing of space," Isamu Noguchi was a vital figure for modern public art. Born to an American mother and a Japanese father, Noguchi never felt like he belonged anywhere and spent his life assembling identities in his statues, monuments, and gardens. He traveled incessantly from New York to remote Japanese islands, from Paris to Bangladesh, synthesizing aesthetic values. The result--massive sculptures of interlocking wood, Zen-like gardens of granite, and stone slides--is now seen as a powerful artistic link between East and West.

Drawing on Noguchi's personal correspondence and interviews with artists, patrons, assistants, and lovers, Hayden Herrera creates another compulsively readable biography of one of the twentieth century's most important artists. Noguchi was elusive, forever uprooting himself to reinvigorate what he called the "keen edge of originality." Yet Herrera locates this man in his friendships with artists like Buckminster Fuller and Arshile Gorky, and in his affairs with women like Frida Kahlo. Herrera reveals his playfulness and his intense immersion in his work, from designing sets for Martha Graham to creating the Noguchi Museum in Queens.

A rich meditation on art in a globalized milieu, Listening to Stone is a moving portrait of an artist compulsively driven to reinvent himself as he searched for his own "essence of sculpture."

L.A. Times Book Prize - Winner, Booklist Editors' Choice, New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year, Marfield Prize Finalist



When Isamu Noguchi was a boy of ten roaming the hills above the sea in Chigasaki, Japan, he searched for wild azaleas and rare blue mountain flowers to add to the primroses, violets, and daisies that...

Reviews from Goodreads

Hayden Herrera

Hayden Herrera is the author of the Pulitzer Prize–nominated Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work, as well as Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo and Matisse: A Portrait.

image of Hayden Herrerao
Blair Resika

Hayden Herrera

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Latest on Facebook