"Noguchi’s restraint, his insistence on privacy, captivated me. This apparent coolness had much to do with his feeling of homelessness and not-belonging, an obsession he said came from his mixed blood—his father was Japanese, his mother American—and an internal conflict between East and West.

In the first paragraph of Noguchi’s own memoir, A Sculptor’s World, he wrote, “With my double nationality and double upbringing, where was my home? Where my affections? Where my identity? Japan or America, both—or the world?” This conflict drove his art. “My longing for affiliation has been the source of my creativity,” he said. This longing drove his life, too. In 1941, for example, he voluntarily entered a Japanese internment camp to connect with the internees and to make their lives less bleak. In 1952 he married a Japanese movie star, Yoshiko Yamaguchi, and went to live in Kita Kamakura where he tried to maintain a traditional Japanese lifestyle—wearing Japanese clothes, sleeping on a Japanese bedroll, eating seated on the floor, and bathing in a Japanese soaking tub. When his wife tried to exchange Japanese straw sandals that made her feet bleed for a pair of plastic sandals, Noguchi threw her new sandals into a rice paddy.

In trying to resolve his conflicts and to find an identity, Noguchi sought a deep connection with the earth. In his last decade this meant fixating on stone, which he called our “fundament.” Working in stone, he said, was a dialogue between himself and the “primary matter of the universe.” Stone was permanent and trustworthy. Noguchi finally found intimacy by listening to stone, by carving basalt and granite. This intense search and the weight Noguchi gave it in his own life, made it possible to glimpse the artist who worked so hard to remain invisible. “Stone breathes with nature’s time cycle,” he wrote. “It begins before you and continues through you and goes on.”"

-- Finding Isamu Noguchi: The Search for the Elusive Sculptor