Lonely Planet Writer

Inside Yayoi Kusama's psychedelic new LA exhibition, Infinity Mirrors

The Broad gallery’s new show, Infinity Mirrors, offers the chance to see the largest amount of infinity rooms by provocative Japanese avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama in one place. Kusama’s bizarre, trippy designs are reflected in six rooms at the LA gallery, where an immersive and kaleidoscopic sensory experience spans works from her first ever infinity room to her last.

Yayoi Kusama with recent works in Tokyo, 2016. Image by Tomoaki Makino

Room Phalli’s Field,1965, has a reflective chamber containing phallic pillows covered in red polka dots; Love Forever, 1958-1968, is viewed via small peep hole windows that look onto a hypnotic moving light display; and The Obliteration Room is a white living room in which visitors contribute to the polka-dotted chaos by adding multi-colored stickers to the surfaces, walls and floor (best viewed towards the end of the exhibition’s run, when there are hundreds of thousands of stickers). Her most recent infinity room, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016, is a mirrored room with a number of black polka-dotted acrylic yellow gourds.

Infinity Mirrored Room–The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013. Image by David Zwirner

“It becomes a full body experience. You enter into the work and you are surrounded by it,” explained Sarah Loyer, Assistant Curator at The Broad. “When I walk into the rooms today, and I’m inside the immersive environment, it’s feels new and innovative, but to think that the artist started making these more than 40 years ago and they continue to feel fresh and innovative is really compelling,” Loyer continued.

Along with Kusama’s dizzying walk-in installations rooms, many of which must be experienced solo (for up to 30 seconds each per person), visitors can peruse other works by the 88-year-old artist as they follow a path around the entire first floor of the gallery. Starting with the Accumulation sculptures, covered in controversial genital-shaped stuffed fabrics, the exhibition continues with other works including paintings, installations and works on paper that greater contextualize the infinity rooms.

Los Angeles is the perfect fit for Kusama’s collection of Infinity Mirrors, explained Loyer, as it’s been home to one infinity room by Kusama since 2013. “The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away has become synonymous with our identity,” said Loyer. “People have been coming here to see that work since The Broad opened and it’s a cultural phenomenon in Los Angeles. We’ve seen the passion for Kusama’s work in the way people have engaged with that one piece.”

A post shared by The Broad (@thebroadmuseum) on

Reactions so far have been of “sheer excitement”, explained Loyer of the current Infinity Mirrors exhibition, “it’s really incredible, it’s immersive, physical, it connects with people, especially those with an art history background who have been studying art for their whole careers, plus with a general audience, even children feel compelled by this work. It’s rare to see an artist that has that kind of range.”

Kusama remains one of the most unique and recognized female artists in the world, and was initially inspired to paint the hallucinations and obsessions she had. Her work has been cited as inspiration for the pop art movement, and artists including Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst. Donald Judd and Eva Hesse are among her close friends.

Open until 1 January, tickets to the Infinity Mirrors show at The Broad, Los Angeles, are $30 per person. There are a limited amount per day. Visit here for more info.