After a two-year delay, a long-awaited Yayoi Kusama exhibition will finally open in Washington, DC.
First announced in January 2020 and postponed barely two months later due to the pandemic, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s look at the wildly popular Japanese artist will finally debut April 1. Running through November 27, One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection is a “petite exhibition” featuring five pieces from the contemporary museum’s collection, including two social-media-friendly Infinity Mirror Rooms – and it’s completely free.
If the nation’s capital isn’t in your travel plans this year, not to worry – around the world, there are ample opportunities to see the iconic artist’s work. In addition to the galleries – David Zwirner in New York, Victoria Miro in London and Ota Fine Arts in Tokyo – these are the museums, parks and even subway stations where you’ll find Kusama’s polka-dot pumpkins, reflection-filled mirror rooms, oversized Day-Glo tentacles and more.
Art Gallery of Ontario – Toronto, Canada
In 2018, this Ontario institution crowdfunded more than $650,000 toward the cost of its Infinity Mirrored Room, per the Toronto Star. Titled “Let’s Survive Together”, it features an endless reflection of silver orbs. (It's temporarily closed due to COVID-19, so check for updates before you go.)
Beverly Gardens Park – Beverly Hills, California, USA
On view in Beverly Gardens Park since 2007, Kusama's painted-fiberglass “Hymn of Life: Tulips” sculpture was recently uprooted and sent north to the New York Botanical Garden for its 2021 show, Cosmic Nature. It's currently being refabricated in stainless steel to avoid earlier issues with water damage and slated to be back home in Beverly Hills this summer.
The Broad – Los Angeles, USA
LA’s contemporary-art fave boasts two infinity rooms: “The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away”, which is accessible by timed entry only, and ”Longing for Eternity”, which doesn’t require reservations. Tickets are released at 10am on the last Wednesday of each month for visits the following month.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art – Bentonville, Arkansas, USA
Northwestern Arkansas’ American-art gem counts two pieces in its permanent collection, so while “Infinity Mirrored Room - My Heart Is Dancing into the Universe” is temporarily closed for maintenance, you can still see “Flowers that Bloom Now,” a brightly painted stainless-steel sculpture planted near one of the museum’s outdoor trails.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden – Washington, DC, USA
The Hirshhorn was responsible for 2017’s Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, the astonishingly successful exhibit that took the internet by storm on its two-year tour of the US and Canada. Now the artist returns victorious with One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection, which includes “Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field (Floor Show)”, a recent reimagining of the artist's 1965 breakthrough installation, and “Pumpkin”, which immerses viewers in floor-to-ceiling polka dots.
In light of its limited capacity, the gallery is requiring timed-entry passes – free and acquired on a first-come, first-served basis – for all visitors ages 12 and up. The catch? Unless you’re a Hirshhorn member, you have to be there in person to snag them, starting at 9:30 am each day.
Institute of Contemporary Art – Boston, USA
Kusama has created more than 20 infinity rooms to date, and “Love Is Calling” is one of the biggest, filled with giant inflatable polka-dot-covered tentacles that change color as a recording of the artist reading a Japanese poem plays on a loop. The pieces is part of the ICA’s permanent collection; timed-entry tickets are required.
Mattress Factory – Pittsburgh, USA
In 1996 Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory hosted “an elaborate mirror-and-polka-dotted mannequin installation,” according to ARTnews, so it’s only appropriate that the combination would make a modern-day return. A small black-lit space with a white formica floor covered in multicolored fluorescent dots, “Infinity Dots Mirrored Room” is a permanent installation.
North Carolina Museum of Art – Raleigh, USA
The North Carolina Museum of Art’s “Light of Life” was a hot ticket when it first debuted in 2018, but four years on, it’s simply another part of the main collection – albeit a well-lit one. This is a low-key way to experience with Kusama’s work: entry to the museum is free, and it’s relatively easy to get time in the infinity room.
Phoenix Art Museum – Phoenix, USA
A mixed-media infinity room featuring a sea of twinkling LED lights, the aptly titled “You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies” is part of the Phoenix Art Museum’s permanent collection.
Rubell Museum – Miami, USA
It’s an embarrassment of Kusama riches at the Rubell, home to not one, not two, but three of the artist’s interactive works: two infinity rooms – “Let’s Survive Forever” and “Where the Lights in My Heart Go” – and “Narcissus Garden”, a piece dating to the 1966 Venice Biennale and comprising 700 ultra-shiny stainless-steel spheres arranged along a 200ft stretch of the museum’s main hall.
WNDR – Chicago, USA
This Windy City immersive-art site (pronounced "Wonder") lines up pieces by Keith Haring and Alex Israel alongside “Let’s Survive Forever”, Chicago’s first Kusama infinity room, featuring mirrored balls reminiscent of the artist’s “Narcissus Garden” anchored to the floor and ceiling.
Esplanade François Mitterrand – Lille, France
Since Lille was named 2004’s European Capital of Culture, tulips have become a symbol of the city, and Kusama’s 7m (23ft)–tall flower sculpture “Les Tulipes De Shangri-La” has pride of place on the Esplanade François Mitterrand.
Kistefos – Jevnaker, Norway
Kusama’s largest Nordic sculpture is found in a mill-turned-sculpture-park just outside of Oslo. “Shine of Life” is a site-specific work featuring the artist’s signature giant tentacles, here made of cast iron, painted bright red and speckled with polka dots, rising from the water.
Liverpool Street Elizabeth line station – London
Announced in 2018 as part of London’s Crossrail Art program, a 10-piece series spread across seven metro stations on the soon-to-open Elizabeth line, “Infinite Accumulation” has yet to be unveiled. But when it debuts, it will transform one of the artist’s favorites motifs – polka dots – into a modular steel sculpture with tubular rods and polished spheres.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art – Humlebæk, Denmark
Just 30km (19 miles) north of Copenhagen, Louisiana’s “Gleaming Lights of the Souls” is an infinity room with hundreds of glowing lamps that look like ping-pong balls. It’s a permanent installation dating to 2008.
Musée des Beaux-Arts – Nancy, France
Part of the Musée des Beaux-Arts’s contemporary collection, “Infinity Mirror Room Fireflies on Water” is in good company, grouped together with pieces by Erik Dietman, Emmanuel Saulnier and Carole Benzaken, among others.
Tate Modern – London
Launched after lockdown in June 2021, Tate Modern’s Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms recently received an extension, and the exhibit – two mirrored rooms, “Filled with the Brilliance of Life” and “Chandelier of Grief” – is now slated to run through June 11, 2023. Advanced booking is required.
Instituto de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim – Brumadinho, Brazil
A version of the famed sculpture that Kusama originally debuted at the 1966 Venice Biennale is one of the star attractions at the open-air museum Inhotim, near Belo Horizonte. Encompassing 750 stainless steel spheres gliding across a thin layer of water, “Narcissus Garden Inhotim” acts – as the artist once put it – as “a kinetic carpet” that moves with the wind for an ever-changing display.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art – Israel
Originating at Berlin’s Gropius Bau last year, Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective touched down in Tel Aviv last November and will remain there through April 23, 2022. The artist’s first major exhibition in Israel, this “extensive survey” includes early paintings and sculptures as well as polka-dot pumpkins and a new infinity room, “The Eternally Infinite Light of the Universe Illuminating the Quest for Truth.”
Art Gallery of South Australia – Adelaide
A National Gallery of Australia touring exhibition, Spirits Of The Pumpkins Descended Into The Heavens – a bright-yellow room filled with infinitely repeating black polka dots – is on view at Adelaide’s Art Gallery of South Australia for the month of April.
Benesse House Museum – Naoshima, Japan
On the south coast of Naoshima, on a solitary pier leading out to the sea, the Tadao Ando–designed Benesse House Museum features perhaps Kusama’s most famous “Pumpkin”, made of fiber-reinforced plastic measuring 2m (6.5ft) high and 2.5m (8.2ft) wide. Installed in 1994, it was her first gourd designed with an outdoor location in mind. Unfortunately, it was damaged during a typhoon in August 2021 and has since been removed for repairs, so check for updates before you make a special trip to see it.
Echigo-Tsumari Art Field – Tokamachi, Japan
A rural al fresco gallery in the Niigata prefecture, Tokamachi’s Echigo-Tsumari Art Field is home to “Tsumari in Bloom”, a sprawling floral piece the artist once called her favorite open-air creation.
Matsumoto City Museum of Art – Japan
Located in Kusama’s hometown of Matsumoto City, this art museum has been closed for the past year for extensive renovations, but when it reopens on April 21, 2022, it will celebrate its 20th anniversary with an exhibit starring its native daughter, Yayoi Kusama, the highlight of the soul.
Museum Macan – Jakarta
In 2018, Indonesia’s first contemporary art museum landed Kusama’s touring exhibition Life Is the Heart of the Rainbow, but its permanent collection has several of her pieces as well, including a mannequin of a child covered in tiny chicken-pox-like dots; an acrylic painting of a swallow’s nest; the nearly 10ft tall sculpture “Tulip with All My Love” and, of course, an infinity room, “Brilliance of the Souls”.
Towada Art Center – Aomori, Japan
Though the building is temporarily closed, the Aomori Prefecture’s contemporary Towada Art Center has a cluster of eight polka-dot-spackled sculptures permanently installed outside: oversized yellow-and-black pumpkins and whimsical, colorful dogs, mushrooms and a girl named Hanako-chan, collectively titled “Love Forever, Singing in Towada”.
Yayoi Kusama Museum – Tokyo
Opened in late 2017, this small museum in the Shinjuku area was founded by Kusama herself and features a rotating series of exhibitions. Focusing on the artist’s Surrealist streak, from early watercolors and oil paintings to 3D installations and recent large-scale acrylics, A Poem In My Heart is on view through August 28, 2022.
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