the hirshhorn museum is presenting an expansive exhibition that spans the 65-year-long career of japanese artist yayoi kusama, including six immersive infinity mirror rooms, large-scale paintings, installations, sculpture and rare archival materials. ‘yayoi kusama: infinity mirrors’ features familiar favorites like ‘the obliteration room’ and ‘phalli’s field’, as well as an 8-foot-tall ‘pumpkin’ that watches over waiting crowds at hirshhorn’s central plaza. ‘yayoi kusama, who, at this stage of her career, is a worldwide phenomenon, has the ability to inspire audiences of all ages with the power of her art,’ says melissa chiu, the hirshhorn’s director.

yayoi kusama hirshhorn
infinity mirrored room – love forever, 1966/1994, at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden
wood, mirrors, metal, and lightbulbs
all photos by cathy carver

 

 

on view from now through may 14, 2017, the exhibition at washington DC’s hirshhorn museum is loosely organized by theme, beginning with kusama’s ‘infinity mirror room—phalli’s field’, first presented in new york 1965. visitors encounter a dense and dizzying field made up of hundreds of red-spotted protrusions that fill a mirror-clad room. as they make their way through the exhibitions, museum-goers can peer into ‘infinity mirror room—love forever’, an immersive hexagonal chamber lined with flashing colored lights that endlessly reflect across the floor and ceiling. 

yayoi kusama hirshhorn
dots obsession – love transformed into dots, 2007, at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden
mixed media installation
image courtesy of ota fine arts, tokyo/singapore; victoria miro, london; david zwirner, new york, © yayoi kusama

 

 

also presented is the domed mirror room titled ‘dots obsession — love transformed into dots’, which forms a hot-pink environment filled with inflatable, polka dotted orbs suspended from the ceiling. kusama’s more recent LED environments — lined with lanterns or crystalline balls that seemingly extend into infinity — are represented by the spectacular installations ‘aftermath of obliteration of eternity’ and ‘souls of millions of light years away’. the exhibition finishes with ‘the obliteration room’, a participatory installation inviting visitors to cover every surface of a white room with colored polka dot stickers, gradually canvassing the entire space.

yayoi kusama hirshhorn
infinity mirrored room – the souls of millions of light years away, 2013, at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden
wood, metal, glass mirrors, plastic, acrylic panel, rubber, LED lighting system, acrylic balls, and water
113 1/4 x 163 1/2 x 163 1/2 in.
image courtesy of david zwirner, N.Y. © yayoi kusama

 

 

finally, kusama’s recurring themes of nature, fantasy, utopia, dystopia are represented in a selection of more than 60 paintings and sculptures, forming a sensory journey through the artist’s creative trajectory from early surrealist works, to recent painted projects.

 

following its debut at the hirshhorn museum and scupture garden, ‘yayoi kusama: infinity mirrors’ will travel to five major museums in the united states and canada, including the seattle art museum, the broad in los angeles, the art gallery of ontario, the cleveland museum of art, and the high museum of art in atlanta.

yayoi kusama hirshhorn
all the eternal love I have for the pumpkins, 2016, at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden
wood, mirror, plastic, black glass, LED | collection of the artist
image courtesy of ota fine arts, tokyo / singapore and victoria miro, london. © yayoi kusama

yayoi kusama hirshhorn
installation view of infinity mirror room — phalli’s field, 1965, at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden
sewn stuffed cotton fabric, board, and mirrors
image courtesy of ota fine arts, tokyo/singapore; victoria miro, london; david zwirner, new york. © yayoi kusama

yayoi kusama hirshhorn
aftermath of obliteration of eternity, 2009, at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden
wood, mirror, plastic, acrylic, led, black glass, and aluminum | collection of the artist.
image courtesy of ota fine arts, tokyo/singapore; victoria miro, london; david zwirner, new york. © yayoi kusama

yayoi kusama hirshhorn
life (repetitive vision), 1998

yayoi-kusama-hirshhorn-museum-infinity-mirrors-designboom-02
left to right: living on the yellow land, 2015; my adolescence in bloom, 2014; welcoming the joyful season, 2014; surrounded by heartbeats, 2014; unfolding buds, 2015; story after death, 2014

yayoi-kusama-hirshhorn-museum-infinity-mirrors-designboom-02
left to right: ennui, 1976; accumulation, 1962-64; red stripes, 1965; arm chair, 1963

yayoi-kusama-hirshhorn-museum-infinity-mirrors-designboom-02
left to right: blue spots, 1965; flowers – overcoat, 1964; a snake, 1974; ennui, 1976; accumulation, 1962-64; red stripes, 1965; arm chair, 1963

yayoi-kusama-hirshhorn-museum-infinity-mirrors-designboom-02
pumpkin, 2016, at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden
image courtesy of ota fine arts, tokyo/singapore. © yayoi kusama

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