4. News at Associated Press Building, Rockefeller Center (1938)

Isamu Noguchi-News-Associated Press-Relief-50 Rockefeller Plaza-Bank of America-NYC

You know Rockefeller Center for its Art Deco architecture and its numerous pieces of famous art (like the Atlas and Prometheus sculptures, or the Diego Riviera mural that was removed due to controversy over its allegedly Communist imagery). But there’s also a Isamu Noguchi bas-relief sculpture on the facade of 50 Rockefeller Plaza, the Associated Press building. Noguchi entered a contest in 1938 to design this piece as he yearned to move from a purely figurative sculptor for the city’s social elite to a respected Modern artist in his own right.

Always one to buck the rules, Noguchi submitted a design in stainless steel instead of bronze, which was specified in the competition brief. Nonetheless, as the Rockefeller Center website states, “Noguchi’s design for the AP Building won out by far.” They also note that the News was “for many years, the largest and heaviest stainless steel sculpture in the world. It weighs over 10 tons and was cast in nine separate pieces before being welded into three huge sections for transport and installation.”

Today, the building is no longer the headquarters for the Associated Press and is used by Bank of America.