U-Haul Company of St. Louis is delighted to reintroduce a famed piece of modern art to the world by uncovering renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi’s illuminated ceiling at 1641 S. Kingshighway Blvd.
The Noguchi masterpiece had been hidden from public view for decades by a drop ceiling at U-Haul Moving & Storage at Kingshighway, historic site of the former American Stove Company-Magic Chef building.
St. Louis architect Harris Armstrong designed the building in the mid-1940s and commissioned Noguchi (1904-1988), a past member of National Sculpture Society who is known for his sculpture, landscape architecture and furniture designs, to create the unique ceiling for Magic Chef’s open first-floor lobby.
About two years ago, U-Haul began internal discussions regarding the upgrade and enlargement of its showroom.
“In conjunction with improving the showroom, my intention was to reveal the ceiling,” U-Haul Company of St. Louis president Steve Langford said. “There was a Noguchi exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum running around the time we began working on this project, so there were lots of photos to use as a frame of reference.”
“Isamu Noguchi’s sculpted ceiling designed for the 1946 Magic Chef building in St. Louis is the last surviving of the seminal American artist’s monumental ‘lunar landscapes,'” said Genevieve Cortinovis, assistant curator of decorative arts and design at the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Cortinovis added that along with Carl Milles’ fountain for Aloe Plaza and Harry Bertoia’s sculpture screen for Lambert International Airport, the Noguchi ceiling is arguably the most important site-specific sculpture executed in St. Louis in the decades leading up to the completion of the Gateway Arch.
“We’re so pleased to be able to share this artwork with the community again,” Langford said.
Community events celebrating the restoration will be held on May 19th. More about U-Haul’s involvement in St. Louis and other communities can be found at myuhaulstory.com.