Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

Melania Trump adds final touches to her White House Rose Garden renovation

The First Lady is introducing a sculpture by Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi

The Rose Garden after Melania Trump's overhaul. Reuters 
The Rose Garden after Melania Trump's overhaul. Reuters 

Melania Trump is making some final improvements to the White House Rose Garden.

The First Lady has announced that a work by the Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi will be installed on the east terrace of the presidential garden. Noguchi, who died in 1988, is the first Asian American artist to be featured in the White House collection.

“I am excited to announce the installation of Floor Frame to the newly restored White House Rose Garden,” said Trump in an official statement. “This sculpture not only showcases diversity within our nation’s finest art but it also highlights the beautiful contributions of Asian American artists to the landscape of our country."

Floor Frame was gifted to the White House by the White House Historical Association in March. According to the White House statement, Noguchi “viewed Floor Frame as the intersection of a tree and the ground, taking on the qualities of both an implied root system and the canopy of a tree. To reconnect viewers to the planet, he envisioned the sculpture placed directly on the ground.

Born in Los Angeles, Noguchi spent most of his childhood in his father's homeland of Japan. After graduating from high school, Noguchi apprenticed with Gutzon Borglum, who created the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota.

He later dropped out of Columbia University's premedical programme to pursue a career as a sculptor. He gained acclaim in 1946 when his biomorphic stone sculptures were included in the Fourteen Americans exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. He melded Japanese aesthetics with Western modernism, believing that sculpture should shape spaces.

In August, Trump completed a renovation of the famed White House Rose Garden, which was redesigned under her supervision. The famous garden is just outside the Oval Office, and is often home to press conferences and events. It dates back to 1913, and had its last full redesign in 1962. That reworking was overseen by then first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy.

Trump opted to strip away much of the colour that had characterised the garden, as well as 60-year-old trees, in the first major change since the Kennedy era.

The white JFK rose now lines the length of the garden, while light pink and yellow Peace roses are dotted throughout. Many of the changes, officials noted, had to be made because of poor drainage of the lawn and damage to shrubs and tree roots over time.

epa08833211 The sculpture called "Floor Frame," created in 1962 by Isamu Noguchi seen in the White House Rose Garden in Washington, DC, USA,, 21 November 2020. Floor Frame was gifted to the White House by the White House Historical Association in March of 2020 and unveiled on November 20, 2020. EPA/Chris Kleponis / POOL
'Floor Frame,' created in 1962 by Isamu Noguchi, seen in the White House Rose Garden in Washington DC, on November 21, 2020. EPA

Another key element removed was a seating area on the east side of the garden, which was at times used by presidents for lunches and other meetings. This is where Floor Frame will find its new home.

Updated: November 22, 2020 11:29 AM

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