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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

yayoi kusama exhibition at the whitney

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.

 
 
 
 

17 comments:

  1. I've seen pieces of this on the internet but really appreciate you pulling this post together. It's truly inspirational to hear about those who have taken a disability and turned it into something so moving

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    1. Yes, isn't it something that she was still able to work with her illness and turn it into her creative outlet?

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  2. Sam and I walked by the Louis Vuitton store last week and I mentioned that you'd been to the exhibit! So neat to hear all about it now. I'm so fascinated by the Fireflies on the water exhibit, I wish I could see it. Though a minute doesn't seem long enough, especially at how awesome all the pictures I've seen of it are. It's like sensory overload. I get what you mean about it being overwhelming and not soothing given that it's her hallucinations. Really impactful stuff.

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    1. I am sad that I wasn't able to see the Fireflies on the water because all the photos had me intrigued as well...

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  3. Looks like a FUN exhibit! Thanks for heading to the store to get pics for us :)

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    1. It was a quite interesting exhibition and you're welcome!

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  4. It's really great that Kusama is getting all this recognition through her art and collaboration with LV. I have to admit that I wasn't familiar with her work before the LV collaboration, but now know so much about her. I'm hoping the exhibit at the Whitney will travel...It would be nice if it came to Los Angeles. (One can hope.) Thanks so much for putting this post together and sharing, Nina.

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    1. I wasn't familiar with her work before the LV collaboration either. From what I understand before the collaboration she was largely forgotten or ignored by the art world, after she left the US, except in her home country.

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  5. I put this on my list when you mentioned it a few days ago. But now, seeing the pictures, I have got to go- gotta check out the LV storefront too!

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    1. What a bummer that the displays were already taken down :(

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  6. I would love to see her art in person... and it turns out that I have been, every day! I walk past the LV store on Bond Street here in London every day and it has the same exhibit as the one in NY! I took loads of photos the first time I saw it, not having a clue who's work it was - it's difficult to explain to anyone who hasn't them up close but a good word is 'memorising' (it's a huge crowd puller). Now I finally get to put a name to the work!

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    1. The window displays were definitely memorizing! Most people had to take a second look to find out the wax figure isn't a real person. I loved watching the reactions of the passers-by.

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  7. I'm not sure how I found your blog, but I'm happy I did. I love it. I would love to have seen this exhibit. I read about Yayoi Kasuma, and am now so completely intrigued. Talented woman.

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    1. Did you take an alt channel class recently? Your blog name, which is so cute by the way, sounds familiar. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Replies
    1. Hi Laura, Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  9. great post like not for the fun critic this is really good and informative, thanks for sharing as I havent know this artist before

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