It is finally time for my post about the Yayoi Kusama retrospective at the Whitney here in New York, I can not believe that I visited the exhibition over two weeks ago already. Unfortunately photography wasn't allowed as always in museums so I headed over to the Louis Vuitton store on 5th Avenue to take some photos for my post. But there is also an installation called Guidepost to the New Space (2004) located at Pier 45 of Hudson River Park, where you can touch, feel and even sit on her art. Another spot to check out her art within the city landscape is on 14th Street (close to the corner of 9th Avenue), where a construction site is covered with in her Yellow Trees. I haven't checked out the building cover in the Meatpacking District yet, so I have no photos to include but there are lots if you click the link I provided.
The exhibition covers her work from the 40ies until the present and includes one room you can only enter if you snatch an extra ticket for it. As per the artist wish only one person can enter Fireflies on the water at a time and spent one minute in the room. Unfortunately we were not able to get our hands at one of the timed tickets. When we got to the museum around 11:20am on a Sunday morning, just twenty minutes after it opened the line to get in was pretty long and they were already handing out the time slots around 3pm. When it was our turn they completely had run out of tickets. Bummer!
I am not an art critic nor do I claim to know much about art but my favorite pieces from the exhibition were the Infinity Nets, large, white and monochromatic paintings that have no beginning, center or end. After reading that Kusama painted them directly from the hallucinations she suffered, it felt quite weird looking at them because to me they felt calm but in her hallucinations they engulfed everything, which makes it sound more suffocating than calming. Her art was both a release and a form of treatment for her psychological issues. Really interesting to me was also her stay in New York where she started to create happenings in the mid sixties and even opened her own boutique with Kusama clothing and textiles. It seemed that the artist and her art melded together, as she appeared clad in polka dots in front of her art, painting polka dots on nude performers etc. In the 70ies she moved back to Japan, where she continues to live in a psychiatric hospital with a studio nearby to create her art. If you like you can watch the trailer to the upcoming documentary Kusama: Princess of Pola Dots here.