Yayoi Kusama exhibition

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006 | All Things, Arts, Events

‘Tis the season! The Holiday tree went up at Lincoln Center this morning. The official lighting ceremony will take place the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Lincoln Center Tree

Tonight I attended a reception at the Robert Miller Gallery in Chelsea with the gallery curator, who was on site to introduce the Yayoi Kusama exhibition. The exhibition (on display through November 25) consisted of paintings, sculptures, mirror works, light installations and silkscreens by one of postwar Japan’s most influential artists.


Kusama’s works all share an obsession with repetition and pattern, which she claims are inspired by hallucinations of dots, nets and flowers she experienced as a child. At the gallery talk, the curator offered some additional background on the artist: Kusama, now in her mid-70s, arrived in New York from Japan in 1958 and quickly established herself among the city’s avant-gardists, and an important precursor for Minimalism and the Body Art movement. Her works then also included books, photo collages, film and performance art–even landing her on the front page of the Daily News in August 1969 after she, along with a bunch of naked co-conspirators, infiltrated the Museum of Modern Art’s sculpture garden to perform her “Grand Orgy to Awaken the Dead.” Yoko Ono was among her devotees; she rivaled Andy Warhol on the quirky pop art scene. Despite this, she never quite achieved long-term critical or financial support. She returned to Tokyo in 1972.

Kusama was hospitalized at a Tokyo mental hospital in 1975, where she has voluntarily resided ever since. She continues to produce work there and at her condominium-turned-studio, a few minutes walk from the hospital.

In 1998, MoMA launched an exhibition focusing on Kusama’s prolific New York period, entitled Love Forever. Her pieces are now part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Kusama’s “infinty net” works were unsettling in their density; her 2006 largescale installation, “Black Nerve” (first photo, above) reminded me of a droopy set piece out of Little Shop of Horrors.



More palatable were the two “mirror box” works, which are smaller versions of Kusama’s trademark “infinity mirror rooms.” Others installations on display included “Ladder to Heaven,” which featured a lit ladder bracketed between a floor and ceiling mirror in a darkened room, creating the illusion of an infinite climb.

Infinity Mirror

Mirror Box

Mirror Box

There are 4 Comments ... Yayoi Kusama exhibition

November 25, 2006

That last pic is probably the most we’ll ever see of you.

November 25, 2006

That’s my reflection in the silver balls…

January 8, 2008

YEAH! Yayoi Kusama!

I just did a translation for the jacket description on Takahiko iimura’s latest DVD release, “Seeing Through The Body” which features a piece he produced in collaboration with Yayoi Kusama between 1968 and 1969 titled, ‘Flowers’.

It’s not on his website yet, so perhaps the copy I received is an advance copy… well, if it can’t be found, there’s not much use in talking about it, but I’m sure it will be out there eventually.

Curiously, I don’t see my name credited anywhere… (lol)
Granted, it was a pretty difficult text and required a number of drafts to get the nuance of the original Japanese, but still…

A few years ago there was a really nice Kusama exhibition at a tiny gallery a block from my apartment. All really small pieces, but it was kind of mind-blowing to think there was a Yayoi Kusama exhibition going on in my neighborhood.

January 8, 2008

Very cool. I wonder if any part of the exhibit near your home made it to NYC… we could have been looking at the same pieces.

Go for it ...