One of her early art pieces was her lying down naked in the middle of a busy city street, New York I think. Couldn’t find a picture of that one. She also worked on paper.
After seeing a segment about this fascinating artist on CBS News Sunday Morning, I was thrilled to hear the installation of her Infinity Mirror exhibit from 1965 would be just a four-hour drive away. I felt an immediate connection to her and her artwork. Yayoi Kusama lives in a home for people who are struggling with mental health issues. She’s battled serious depression much of her adult life. She goes next door to her art studio every day. She says creating is her art therapy.
My husband and I left our 18 and 19 year old sons home, made the trip 250 miles, and stayed in a downtown hotel. That evening we went to see Mike Love, not the Beach Boy. He’s a reggae artist out of Hawaii. This tour was “The Beginning of Days 2017.” My husband is a huge reggae fan and couldn’t believe Mike Love would be in town the same weekend we’d be there. Great show!
Previews of the Kusama show advised arriving early to get a same day ticket to see the show. Planning ahead, I’d had my husband load up the beach chairs that carry like backpacks. We got to the museum at 7 am and there were only ten people ahead of us. Before the doors opened, the line wrapped all the way around the city block. Many folks unabashedly coveted our chairs and I was so glad we had them. While we waited, a one-legged, Buddhist monk came by, holding out his wrist to display several bead bracelets. I waved to him. I chose one, asking how much. He shook his head no. Taking my hand in his, he prayed over me. I don’t know what he was saying except for “peace” every few words. He put the beads on my wrist and my husband handed him cash. I felt blessed.
Our early arrival paid off and we had our choice of time slots. We returned the chairs to our car, ate a late breakfast, and went back to the museum. I didn’t know that the show was, in addition to Infinity Mirrors, primarily about Yayoi’s love of pumpkins.
The actual Infinity Mirrors artwork was made up of small rooms people could go in alone or with just one or two others in some cases. Lines waited outside each and ushers moved folks through.
Other artwork involved rooms large enough for people to walk through, again entering and becoming part of the display.
The obliteration room below begins the installation with plain white walls, furniture, etc. As people come through, each places a few dot stickers wherever they please.
The funky furniture was not a participation thing!
In one corner, a video of the artist played on a loop. Yayoi Kusama spoke about her desire to share love through her work. She is 92 years old today and continues to create.
The visit to her show was everything I’d hoped it would be. The weekend and the love flowed effortlessly.