Sameness is the Disease


What if Isamu Noguchi never created a single sculpture? I recently went to The Noguchi Museum in my neighborhood, and fell in love again with his work. The simplicity of his craftsmanship and the stylistic breadth of his sculptures leaves you a sense of our primordial beginnings with many of them utilizing the cut marks from tools that he used to physically carve the stone as ornament . They leave you with a sense of wonder about the variety that is possible from a few simple materials, and tools. As symbols of his consciousness they resonate with a silent elegance, and a raw power.

What if he worked at a desk instead, toiled for some one else’s dream and stifled his own so that he could make a living, save money, buy some stuff and rarely or never carved a single piece of stone? In many ways we are encouraged to respect and honor a more passive role in our lives, leaving our passions until our golden years when I would argue, we are much less likely physically and mentally to be able to enjoy and experience them fully. What if Isamu Noguchi did this? For one, we wouldn’t have many (if any) of his sculptures, and today we wouldn’t likely even know who he was.

What if he never came to New York City? In fact, what if many of the incredibly talented, passionate, and aspiring people who fill this diverse city never came here?. Instead, they stayed in their hometowns, deterred by the seeming difficulties of living in a place that is a physical embodiment of everything that is infinitely diverse and possible.

In many of its more obvious aspects, New York City is the worst place to move or to be an artist: it is extremely expensive, it is often prohibitive logistically to perform simple daily tasks like laundry and grocery shopping, and it is full of competition to name a few.

However, it is also full of diversity, the opposite of sameness. I assert that diversity creates excitement and sameness stifles it. There is nothing stifling about New York City. On the contrary, it is a city full of life and newness. It is full of new experiences, new people and new ideas. Here you are always reminded that you have to earn your keep, and the vigilance required to do this can be looked at as a blessing in disguise, as it keeps you sharp, it keeps you desiring and it keeps you young.

This city is full of moments that make you pause just long enough to see the beauty in life and humanity, and the beauty that comes from this diversity, in others and in yourself – the monumentally quiet collapsing perspective of outstretched avenues framed by tall undulating façades and the soft blue colored dawn sky, the magical moments of unexpectedly running into friends on a crowded subway car or on a busy city street full of locals and tourists alike, and the magnificent sculpture by Isamu Noguchi that is pictured on the left.

Diversity isn’t the disease, sameness is.

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