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The Slick Appeal of Oil Pool

A rare exhibit featuring Noriyuki Haraguchi opens at New York’s Fergus McCaffrey Gallery.

January 21, 2015 | Gina Samarotto

A rare exhibit featuring Noriyuki Haraguchi opens at New York’s Fergus McCaffrey Gallery.

Noriyuki Haraguchi, installation view of Untitled at Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, 2001. Steel, used motor oil, 7 1/8 x 133 7/8 x 275 5/8 inches (18 x 340 x 700 cm) © Noriyuki Haraguchi, Courtesy Fergus McCaffrey


Saturday, January 17th celebrated the opening reception for the solo exhibit by celebrated Japanese artist, Noriyuki Haraguchi at the Fergus McCaffrey Gallery in New York.  


Founded in 2006, internationally acclaimed Fergus McCaffrey Gallery is well known for promoting the work of post-war Eastern artists including Natsuyuki Nakanishi, Sadamasa Motonaga and Kazuo Shiraga.  The gallery has supported a quality roster of contemporary European and American artists as well. The exhibit, which will run through February 21, is the gallery’s third solo exhibition of works by Noriyuki Haraguchi.


Among the works presented in the exhibit is Oil Pool; created from welded steel and containing dark, acrid-smelling, spent machine oil.  Reflecting the New York skyline and the gallery spare interior, Oil Pool illustrates the friction between the contemplative splendor of that reflection and the polluting nature of the materials. Haraguchi executed his first Oil Pool in 1971 to be followed by a later version ultimately acquired by the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran, where it remains to this day. 


Also on exhibit is Wire Rope and A-7 E Corsair II, 2011, the later being the fifth in a series of full-scale replicas of jet tails of Vietnam-era American warplanes. 

Punctuating these sculptural works is a selection of Polyurethane paintings. Like Oil Pool, their origin stems from the process of oil refining. Haraguchi adopted polyurethane paint after encountering it as a floor covering in hospitals, factories, and schools in Japan; the aesthetic potential spurring the artist’s creativity. 


The Fergus McCaffrey Gallery is located at 514 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001 and may be reached at (212) 988-2200 or by visiting



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