Yayoi Kusama

An infinity of experience at the Hirshhorn Museum

Above: All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama (2016). Wood, mirror, plastic, black glass, LED Collection of the artist. © Yayoi Kusama. Art page / Home Page: Installation view of Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field by Yayoi Kusama (1965) in Floor Show, Castellane Gallery, New York, 1965. Sewn stuffed cotton fabric, board, and mirrors.

BY: Liz MacDonald

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors promises an unforgettable art experience, a unique opportunity to discover a legendary avant-gardist whose work influenced contemporaries from Andy Warhol to Claes Oldenburg, Donald Judd and more. This Hirschhorn exhibition is the first to focus on Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms and showcases six of these groundbreaking installations, the most ever shown together.

Yayoi Kusama began experimenting with mirrors while living in New York in the ’60s and early ’70s. It was then that she also honed her signature polka dot, net and soft sculpture motifs, and began staging infamous Happenings—performance-based works—around the city.

Largely forgotten by the end of the 20th century, Kusama entered a mental hospital due to overwork and the hallucinations that she credits as direct inspiration for much of her art. She’s been living there since by choice, her studio a short distance away. Now in her late eighties, she continues to produce an incredible body of work.

Kusama creates vast fields of polka dots, or “infinity nets,” as she calls them, as a way to explore the unknowable: “Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity,” she explains. From peep-show-like chambers to multimedia experiences, Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms offer the chance to step into an illusion of infinite space. Each of these these kaleidoscopic environments are completely immersive sensory journeys. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors is on view at the Hirshhorn Museum through May 14. Enjoy a preview of the exhibition here, below.

 

Installation view of Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field by Yayoi Kusama (1965) in Floor Show, Castellane Gallery, New York, 1965. Sewn stuffed cotton fabric, board, and mirrors. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York.
Installation view of Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field by Yayoi Kusama (1965) in Floor Show, Castellane Gallery, New York, 1965. Sewn stuffed cotton fabric, board, and mirrors. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York.

 

Yayoi Kusama, "Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity," 2009. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York. © Yayoi Kusama
Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity by Yayoi Kusama (2009). Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York. © Yayoi Kusama.

 

Yayoi Kusama, "Obliteration Room," image courtesy of the HirschhornMuseum
Obliteration Room by Yayoi Kusama (2002 – present), Queensland Art Gallery© Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy of the Hirschhorn Museum.

 

Yayoi Kusama, "Flower," (1975), image courtesy of the Hirschhorn Mueum
Flower by Yayoi Kusama (1975). Image courtesy of the Hirschhorn Museum.

 

Yayoi Kusama, "infinity Nets Yellow," (1960), image courtesy of the Hirschhorn Museum
Infinity Nets Yellow by Yayoi Kusama (1960), Collection of the National Gallery of Art. Courtesy of the Hirschhorn Museum.

 

Yayoi Kusama with recent works in Tokyo (2016) Photo by Tomoaki Makino, image courtesy of the Hirschhorn Mueum
Yayoi Kusama with recent works in Tokyo (2016). Photo by Tomoaki Makino. Courtesy of the Hirschhorn Museum.

 

Yayoi Kusama, "The Hill," image courtesy of the Hirschhorn Museum
The Hill by Yayoi Kusama (date unknown).  Courtesy of the Hirschhorn Museum.

 

Yayoi Kusama, image courtesy of the Hirschhorn Museum
Untitled mixed media painting by Yayoi Kusama (ca. 2012). Courtesy of the Hirschhorn Museum.