Pictures of Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrors images constantly filled my timeline on social media. If there is one thing we love in the DC area, it is something exclusive. The harder to get into the more determined we are. We must get in so we can brag to those that could not. Although we exercise this mentality over a variety of things, this it was an art exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum. The museum spent two years getting ready to give us 20 – 30 seconds of wow.
The YAYOI KUSAMA, Infinity Mirrors is on display at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum Feb. 23rd –May 14th. The crazy thing about all the fandom is that it is a free exhibit.
To timed passes you can do one of the following:
- Free Timed Passes are required to visit Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors. Demand is high for this landmark exhibition, and passes go quickly when released.
- Advanced Timed Passes (Every Monday at noon)
- A limited number of same-day Walk-Up Timed Passes will be available at the Museum.
Kusama began making the Accumulations or “soft sculptures” in the early 1960s. Through creating countless soft phallic tubers and attaching them to furniture, the artist hoped to conquer her fear of sex and the phallus through a kind of self-therapy.
Artworks made from sofas, chairs, step ladders, dressers, and a large table were presented together in Kusama: Driving Image Show, a 1964 installation that functioned as a “total environment.” Blue Spots and Red Stripes, both Accumulations, serve as important precursors to Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field. In Phalli’s Field, however, the tubers emerge from the floor rather than from panels on the wall and are multiplied ad infinitum by surrounding mirrors.
After focusing on performances for a few years, Kusama returned to making sculptures in the mid-1970s, continuing to use phallic forms. She often coated these works with silver paint, evoking the reflective surfaces of her Infinity Mirror Rooms.
Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity. –Yayoi Kusama
There are six mirrors at the exhibit. You get 20 – 30 seconds inside of each one. Yes, people are waiting for a few seconds of excitement. I must say they are cool. I had to maximize my time in each so I didn’t get to snap pictures. I figured video is better.
1965/2016: Stuffed cotton, board, and mirrors
Kusama spent much of her time between 1962 and 1964 sewing thousands of stuffed fabric tubers and grafting them to furniture and found objects to create her Accumulation sculptures. She exhibited the works together in an attempt to create hallucinatory scenes of phallic surfaces but found the labor involved in making them physically and mentally taxing. In response to the labor intensity of this work, she started to utilize mirrors to achieve similar repetition.
2007: Vinyl balloons, balloon dome with mirror room, peep-in mirror dome, and video projection
In 1996, Kusama began creating a series of installations incorporating polka-dotted balloons. Hanging from the ceiling and occupying the floor, these inflatable objects disrupt the viewer’s path.
Visually this was my absolute favorite, pink is my color of choice.
The balloon to my right (your left) was a firm ball with a peephole. The image below is what you saw when you looked inside.
A look on the inside.
2009: Wood, mirror, plastic, acrylic, LEDs, and aluminum
In Infinity Mirrored Room—Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, golden lanterns flicker, creating a shimmering pattern of light that contrasts with the seemingly endless void of the mirrored black space. The imagery in this work recalls the Japanese tradition of toro nagashi, a ceremony in which paper lanterns known as chochin float down a river to guide ancestral spirits back to their resting places on the final night of the summer obon festivals.
2016: Wood, mirrors, plastic, acrylic, and LEDs
Coming from a family that cultivated and sold plant seeds for a living, Kusama saw a pumpkin for the first time during a childhood visit to a seed-harvesting farm with her grandfather. The glowing pumpkins, modeled after the Japanese kabocha squash, are married with Kusama’s signature polka dot pattern within an infinitely repeating space.
Welcome to The Point of No Return
This room signifies no turning back. This was the exhibit exit and you could not re-enter. This room started out with items donated by the local Ikea. (Babe and I knew that the minute we stepped inside.) They painted every single inch of the items white. The exhibits are designed to be interactive down to this room. There is no time limit in this room.
When you enter this room, they give you a sheet of stickers. You MUST use all your stickers prior to leaving this room.
Coming to a City Near You
- Seattle Art Museum: June 30–Sept 10, 2017
- The Broad: Los Angeles, Oct 21, 2017–Jan 1, 2018
- Art Gallery of Ontario: Toronto, March 3–May 27, 2018
- Cleveland Museum of Art: July 9–Sept 30, 2018
- High Museum of Art: Nov 18, 2018–Feb 17, 2019