Yayoi Kusama at Gagosian in Chelsea

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I Want to Live Forever, 2008, acrylic on canvas; five panels app. 90 x 358 inches overall, with detail below

I'm not sure when Yayoi Kusama made the leap from Robert Miller to Gagosian, but here she is, ensconsed in Larry's hangar-like space on 24th Street.

I snapped a few pics of the installation, even though there's a no-photography policy at the gallery. But I'm not using them, because the gallery's website has some beautiful shots--much better than my guerilla attempts, and they're grab-able.

Kusama's work often appears minimal from a distance, like the five-panel work that opens this post, yet from up close you can see how obsessively patterned it is. It's both meditative and eye-jangling. She seems to make no effort to reconcile those elements, and I like that; pick your viewing distance and take from it what you will. It's also big. I Want to Live Forever goes on forever, well, almost 30 running feet.

And then there are her inifinity rooms, boxes for which you wait on line to enter. It's always worth the wait. Illumination and mirrors multiply to create an endless horizon of hallucinatory power. They make we want to drop acid again--though, really, I'm not sure the chemical trip could be any better than the visual experience Kusama provides.

By the way, I didn't intend for age to be a rolling theme in two successive posts, but Kusama, still hitting all the big notes, recently turned 80.

Trip in a box: Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009, mixed media installation, app. 164 x 164 x 113 inches.

The polkadot objects don't do for me, have never done for me, what the paintings or light-box installations do. But who wouldn't want to stop and take in three giant black-on-yellow pumpkins in a matching room, like the prizewinners on display in some kind of extraterrestrial state fair.

Pumpkin, 2008, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, app. 69 a 71 x 74
Full view below, as seen from the sidewalk on 24th Street

All images except the detail from


Kate Beck said...

Beautiful exhibit, Joanne, thanks so much

* said...

"I want to live forever" was fantastic. One of the gallery guards warned me not to look at it too close... then another one suggested I go in the "aftermath of obliteration..." room first, and then come back and look at paintings, which I did (not that anyone has to tell me how to look at a Kusama!) and it was sound advice. Her work always makes me happy.

seemapandey said...

very impressive works. am doing a research on Japanese post modern artists. would like to meet.