We’re in the Infinity Room at the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the High Museum last December – suspended in the cosmos while the “stars” above and below seem to go on forever. In reality, the little walkway we’re standing on is the center of a tiny room. But like the Tardis, or Snoopy’s doghouse, or Harry Potter’s tent, it seems much bigger inside than outside.
Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. Yayoi Kusama – High Museum Atlanta GA
What’s outside Infinity? — the gate-keeper. Only three can go in at one time… and for less than a minute, but we’ve happily stood in a long queue to get this far.
Another door to infinity, this time with Kusama’s signature soft sculpture forms with obliterating red dots. Peeking in the door at changeover time is almost as interesting as going inside…
That was December. The Kusama show closed February 17, a week ago yesterday. I’d bought tickets early on for November and December dates, not realizing how much I’d want to go again or how soon it would sell out. Then I saw the film Kusama: Infinity, and when the museum did a surprise opening up of ticket sales on the last week, of course I went online to get one. Problem: I was number 29,593 (-ish) in queue. I didn’t get a ticket.
So, today I’ll revisit my photos (and wish I’d taken more).
This small early piece was one of my favorites — Island in the Sea # 1 – Yayoi Kusama, 1953 – gouache and painted pastel on paper.
Kusama came to the U.S. and moved to New York. Her soft sewn sculptural work inspired Claes Oldenburg to start his series, her early infinity spaces inspired Lucas Samaras’ successful mirrored rooms, and an exhibition in which she papered the gallery with copies of the same image over and over led Andy Warhol to the idea. But Kusama’s career did not take off like theirs, and she went back to Japan in 1974.
My Eternal Soul” – recent work – High Museum Exhibition 2018-2019
Kusama has said the main theme of her art is obsession, that her work is based on “developing her personal psychological problems into art.” When she returned to Japan in the 1970s, she found a mental hospital offering art therapy and checked herself in. She’s almost 90 now, still living in the hospital, going out every day to work in her studio nearby.
One of the many ways Kusama was ahead of her time is how her work expands to encompass us all. It seems made for today’s obsession: social media. In this show, everyone got into the selfie spirit, even me.
This was a box to peek into, not to step into.
Forget “exit through the gift shop” — viewers got a chance to participate in the theme of obliteration when leaving the exhibition through (of course) the Obliteration Room. Given a set of six multi-colored multi-sized adhesive dots, we each chose where to place our own dot allotment in a room that started out all white.
Kusama Obliteration Room – the first week of the exhibition. High Museum, Atlanta GA
Here’s the room a month later…
.. by this time it was getting hard to find a place that didn’t already have a dot.
The exhibition has moved on now. Installation for the next one must have begun – here’s what we saw when walking past the museum a few days ago —
Putting up the banner for European Masterworks from the Phillips Collection, opening April 6.
Now, late again for Cee’s Foto Challenge – CFFC: Color of Your Choice — what color shall I choose? I’m going with “Dot” – can you blame me?
Film, Kusama Infinity – trailer
High Museum exhibitions:
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors
Art from the Phillips Collection