I was privileged to see the traveling exhibition “Infinity Mirrors” by legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the Cleveland Museum of Art earlier this month. Usually my blog posts focus on my words, rather than photos, but this time it makes sense to allow some of the pictures I took to – mostly – speak for themselves.
This 50-year retrospective of her work opened at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, in 2017 and CMA is one of just five venues across the U.S. and Canada where Kusama’s remarkable exhibition can be seen. After it ends here on Sunday, the show will travel for its last stop at Atlanta’s High Museum from November 18 to February 17.
To give you just a tiny bit of background, Yayoi Kusama was born in 1929 in Japan and moved to the U.S. in 1958, just in time to become a part of the Andy Warhol, Pop Art culture in New York City. She was mentored by Georgia O’Keefe and became a fixture in the early 60’s hippie scene, creating political performance art, painting polka dots on nude models in public places like Central Park. Reportedly, she offered to sleep with Richard Nixon if he’d put an end to the Viet Nam war.
She was both inspired and emotionally troubled by growing up with an abusive mother and philandering father. Kusama committed herself to an asylum upon returning to Japan in 1977 and has been living there by choice ever since. Her studio is nearby, where she continues to create in a variety of media most days.
Following are photos I took when my buddy Ginny and I visited “Infinity Mirrors” a few weeks ago.
Finally, I hope you’ll enjoy a small clip I filmed inside one of the boxes.
For each experience, no more than two or three people at a time could enter a box and museum staff timed the visit to be exactly 30 seconds. We were allowed to take photos inside all of the boxes except for the one with the pumpkins. Each pumpkin was so fragile, if someone turned and accidentally stepped on or bumped and damaged one, it couldn’t be easily replaced. A museum guard entered that space with each viewing.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into the remarkable “Infinity Mirrors” retrospective of work by the amazing Yahoi Kusama.