Where We Are

Solo en Inglès

Hear directly from artists and curators on selected works from Where We Are.


Abstract sculpture of flat interlocking pieces of stone

Isamu Noguchi, Humpty Dumpty, 1946. Ribbon slate, 59 × 20 3/4 × 17 1/2in. (149.9 × 52.7 × 44.5 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art; purchase 47.7a-e © 2017 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Mark Joshua Epstein: This is a sculpture by the artist Isamu Noguchi that’s called Humpty Dumpty.

Student 1: With the name Humpty Dumpty, it kind of looks like it is pieces, it used to be something flat and whole.

Mark Joshua Epstein: Isamu Noguchi was half Japanese. He had one parent who was Japanese and he lived in Japan until he was about thirteen years old. This sculpture was made just after World War II, which ended because parts of Japan were bombed. I'm wondering if anything thinks that, Humpty Dumpty, the title, has anything to do with this bombing of Japan?

Student 1: Well, I see maybe the artist, he was looking after World War II at the rubble of Japan and the people who had died in the bombing, and he saw that maybe their lives had kind of shattered metaphorically. I think that it is kind of like war, because even after a war might end, it leaves its mark.

Student 2: Well, I feel like it’s sort of a piece of paper when you crumple it up and then you uncrumple it, it’s wrinkled; you can't make it the same.