The comprehensive Yayoi Kusama exhibit, Kusama Cosmic Nature, runs through October 2021 at the New York Botanical Garden, and it’s all kinds of crazy fun to explore. The garden recently added one of the legendary Japanese artist’s super popular immersive Infinity Mirrored Rooms to the mix, and for just $10 you get a whopping 45 seconds to enjoy the light show and take as many insta-worthy photos as you can: not much time really to work on your composition, but was it work it? Oh yeah! Especially since purchasing these limited-availbilty tickets in advance means pretty short lines as compared to the time I nearly crippled myself waiting to get into one of these things for three hours. Ugh, never again.
On an otherwise gloomy and very rainy Sunday in New York, we made our way to the NYBG in the Bronx for the second day of artist Yayoi Kusama’s new exhibit, Kusama: Cosmic Nature. While Saturday’s opening day enjoyed the benefit of bright sun and warm temperatures, we did not let the overcast skies dampen our sprits at all while exploring this amazing exhibit which showcases of all of Kusama’s ‘greatest hits’ (if you know what I mean). An in-depth review will likely be on the horizon here on The ‘Gig. In the meantime, check it out for yourself buy snagging a couple of hot tickets at This Link!
When I was in California at Christmastime, a little bit of advanced planning allowed me to enjoy a visit to the new Broad Museum of contemporary art, located in beautiful downtown Los Angeles. Featuring 2,000 works of art from the private collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad (pronounced like “Bro-d”), admission is free of charge, but because the museum just opened on September 20th, 2015, the demand for tickets is so high that they must be reserved online in advance.
By December, the list was already booked up through February 2016! It is times like these that writing an awesome blog like The Worley Gig comes in handy. With a couple of exchanged emails, the Broad’s press office was kind enough to extend VIP-treatment to myself and two guests, which included front-of-the-line cutting privileges that saved us about two hours of waiting in a queue that already wrapped around two sides of the building by the time the museum opened at 11 AM. It is good to be the King, or Queen, whatever.
While Lucas Samaras’s Doorway is billed as a “Mirrored Room,” it isn’t actually a room that you can enter, as you can, say, a Mirrored Room installation by Yayoi Kusama. It is really more of, well, a Doorway: a Mirrored Cube inside of a Mirrored Shell that is open on the front and back ends, to allow view through. When I viewed this work at Pace Gallery on the final day of its exhibition, the open ends were roped off to prevent anyone from touching, walking on or accessing the work close up. Bummer.
In this shot you can see the outline of the cube clearly. Unfortunately, if there is even one other person in the gallery they are going be in the shot.
This a reflection of the cube against the interior of the passageway. You can imagine that if you were able to get inside there you could snap some pretty crazy selfies. But, sadly no.
Doorway is one of a series of Mirrorred Rooms created by Samaras between 1966 and 2007.
Photographed At Pace Gallery, 510 West 25th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Yayoi Kusama in a Scene from “Manhattan Suicide Addict” (All Photos By Gail)
According to gallery employees at David Zwirner, last Friday night’s opening of Yayoi Kusama’s I Who Have Arrived in Heaven wasn’t just a Reception: it was an Event, complete with a personal appearance by the 84-year old living legend. And yes, she reportedly wore the bright red wig! We are very sorry to have missed that, but we did make it to the much less crowded Zwirner gallery on Saturday to take inI Who Have Arrived in Heaven‘s sculptures, paintings, video installation and one of two mirrored rooms that made our heads explode. The comprehensive exhibit fills all three of Zwirner’s adjoining spaces on West 19th Street, where a feast for the eyes awaits you in every room. It is high-fives all around for Zwirner on their inaugural Kusama exhibit, and if this marks your first exposure to this artist’s heavily psychedelic creations, you are in for a huge treat.
Kusama’s trademark polka dots are evident on two very fun sculptures of flowers growing out of shoes, which are visible from 19th Street. These pieces reminded me of Minnie Mouse on acid. Each flower has a convex mirror at its center so that, if you can get close enough, you can put your face in the flower and trip out.
This exhibition features twenty-seven new large-scale paintings featuring vibrant colors and repetitious patterns. Most are highly detailed and very whimsical in nature.
Detail from Painting Above
This shot above will give you an idea of the scale of these canvases. The images and details from this series of paintings reminded me of the artwork from the first Tom Tom Club album (and video for “Genius of Love”) and also from the hyper-violent cartoon series, Super Jail, of which I am a huge fan.
Eyes Detail from Painting
In yet another room, which is book-ended by 12-foot high infinity mirrors, there is a video installation of Yayoi performing her original song, “Manhattan Suicide Addict.” As Yayoi sings the song, which has very beautiful and poetic lyrics, an animated slide show of her selected artworks moves behind her. Geoffrey and I watched it four or five times. It was just insane.
As if all of the sculptures and paintings and videos were not enough to make you squeal, there are also two Infinity-Mirrored Room installations. Yes, I just typed that. Here is what it looks like inside one of them.
This installation is entitled Love Is Calling, and it is comprised of a darkened, mirrored room illuminated by inflatable, tentacle-like forms, which are covered in Kusama’s characteristic polka dots, that extend from floor to ceiling, gradually changing color. Very psychedelic! Simply put, I did not want to leave this room. Of course, there was a line to enter (I can’t even imagine what it was like on opening night) but even though they only let about 6 or 7 people enter at one time, the line moves pretty fast, and it is so totally worth the wait, so don’t get discouraged!
Sadly, a very packed afternoon agenda would not allow us enough wiggle room to wait in the hours-long line to experience the second room, which is the exhibition’s centerpiece, Mirrored Infinity Room: The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. This mirrored, cubed-shaped room features a shallow reflecting pool as its floor. Hundreds of multicolored LED lights are suspended at varying heights and they flicker on and off in a strobe-like effect, producing an intense illumination of the space and a repetitive pattern of reflections that suggest endlessness. WOW. I will be making a return trip to experience that head trip, for sure.
Yayoi Kusama’s I Who Have Arrived In Heaven will be on exhibit through December 21, 2013 at David Zwirner Galleries, Located at 519, 525 and 533 West 19th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District, New York.