At the Noguchi Museum, a Celebration of the Loewe Craft Prize Finalists
For the first time, visitors to the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York will find that the famed sculptor Isamu Noguchi’s former studio is open to the public. The occasion: To exhibit the work of the 30 finalists of the 2023 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, an award that recognizes the vision and expertise of craftspeople and artists from around the world.
Now in its sixth year, the prize serves to spotlight the time-intensive work of modern craftsmanship and its importance in artistry, design, and culture. Chosen from over 2,700 submissions, the 30 finalists for this year’s prize represented 16 countries and regions across the globe, as well as a range of mediums from ceramics and woodwork to textiles and metal. The 2023 winner, announced by Fran Lebowitz and Jonathan Anderson at Noguchi on Tuesday, May 16, is Japanese artist Eriko Inazaki, who won for her intricate ceramic piece, Metanoia.
The sculpture, now on display at the museum, was created “through an accumulation of minuscule forms that coalesce across the work’s crystallized surface,” according to the press release. The jury—made up of prominent figures in the worlds of design, architecture, journalism, criticism, and museum curatorship—were impressed by the ceramic technique of which they said to have never seen employed before. Anderson, specifically, enjoyed the undefined nature of the piece. “What I love about that work is you have no idea what it’s made of,” he said in an interview. “It has an incredible sense of anxiety, which I quite like; and at the same time there is a depth of field, which is very unusual. You feel that you could get lost in it.”
In addition to Inazaki, the Loewe Foundation also recognized two special mentions, Dominique Zinkpè and Moe Watanabe, for their work, The Watchers and Transfer Surface, respectively.
Metanoia by Eriko Inazaki, 2019.
The Watchers by Dominique Zinkpè, 2022.
Transfer Surface by Moe Watanabe, 2022.
Anderson originally founded the prize in 2016, just a few years into his tenure at Loewe. “I’ve had this project in the back of my head since I joined Loewe,” the designer told W back in 2017. “It’s a passion of mine. I collect craft. It inspires me.” With the prize, Anderson hoped to shine a new light on the artistic nature and beauty of craftsmanship, something he feels is often overlooked. “People have this idea of craft,” he said. “It could be really bad jewelry or some other really bad thing.” For his part, Anderson often celebrates craftsmanship within the collections he presents for Loewe. The brand’s fall/winter 2023 menswear collection saw jackets created from hammered metal and leather manipulated into folds. It’s no surprise, then, that this prize is an important endeavor for the designer. “It’s just one of many projects we are doing this year,” he said ahead of the inaugural award in 2017. “But it’s the one that means the most, because it’s not about fashion.”
The exhibition highlighting the work of all 30 of this year’s finalists is now on view at the Noguchi Museum through June 18, as well as online at craftprizeexhibition.loewe.com.