Born in 1930 in Tokyo, Japan, Minoru Niizuma immigrated to the United States in the postwar period, following his education at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, and his subsequent local success exhibiting with the Modern Art Association in Tokyo. Settling in New York in 1959, Niizuma joined the Brooklyn Museum Art School in 1964 as a teacher, while simultaneously stepping deep into the emerging artistic cluster that came to be affiliated with the term “Minimalism.” Throughout his life, Niizuma worked in series, mostly focusing on refining and iterating a single form over the course of several years. With his carved stone works, sitting on the edge of symbolic figuration with their distinctive juxtapositions of smooth and rugged texture, Niizuma was included in shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim. Niizuma also privileged other means of exposing the public to his works, his works prized in both institutional and commercial sculpture gardens. As a result, he began to place works in museum collections including the Hirshhorn Museum, the Guggenheim, SFMOMA and the Museum of Modern Art.

Following his six years at the Brooklyn Museum, Niizuma was named an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where he taught from 1972 through 1984. In the early 80’s, he began a pivot that would carry him into the last 20 years of his life and work, when he traveled to Portugal as part of the Evora Symposium. The immense array of marble and stone available in the European nation  brought Niizuma back time and time again, eventually resulting in a partnership with Portuguese President Mario Soares to build artistic exchange between Portugal and Japan. Niizuma passed away in 1998. 

  • Minoru Niizuma, Untitled, c.1980s
    Minoru Niizuma
    Untitled, c.1980s
    Portuguese black granite
    43 x 9 x 8 1/4 inches
    109.2 x 22.9 x 21 cm