The quest for tickets to “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors,” at the Cleveland Museum of Art, is almost as fervent as that for “Hamilton.” “Infinity Mirrors” opened on July 7 in Cleveland, and runs through September 30.
As luck would have it (or careful, early planning), I was able to score tickets. Thank you to The Humble Fabulist for introducing me to “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors,” and suggesting the tickets would sell like hotcakes.
You may be wondering whether the exhibit is worth the effort, time, and money it takes to see the show.
The answer is, yes; though you might not believe it when you are actually viewing the exhibit. At that point, you may just think I led you down the dotted path.
A Head Trip
“Infinity Mirrors” gets into your head only after you’ve had time and space to reflect on it. Excuse the pun.
The rooms aren’t equipped with VR or other cutting-edge technology. They are filled with lights, sculptures, and, yes, mirrors.
At first blush, you may be disappointed. “Sure, dots are cute, and so are pumpkins, but is that all there is?” you wonder.
You’ll later realize it’s not about the technical side of things at all.
You are part of the exhibit, as are the hundreds of other human beings trekking through the rooms and peering into the peek-a-boo boxes or, spheres, as the case may be; A dot among an infinity of dots. Is that obliteration, or a confirmation that there is no end?
In The Obliteration Room, you are given dot stickers to place at-will on the white painted walls and decor. This was my husband’s favorite room.
Take photos. You’ll want to look at them later. In the Cleveland exhibit, only the first small room is a “no photo zone.” Otherwise, flash-less photography is permitted.
What’s Kusama Getting At?
I only started making connections while I was looking through the photos I took, and reading an article in The Atlantic by Sarah Boxer. The article’s title, “An Artist for the Instagram Age,” seems a bit snarky, but Boxer does a wonderful job of communicating Kusama’s messages.
Kusama has explained that her inspiration came from a vision. She visualized herself in a room of flowered wallpaper, looked down and saw that her hands and arms and everything in the room was covered with the same pattern. Her self-identity was obliterated by the repeating, infinite pattern. (Bayly, Zac (2012), “Yayoi Kusama”, Zac-Attack (interview), retrieved Sep 21, 2013)
I didn’t notice how my reflection was getting lost as I progressed through the rooms. It was only later, when I looked closely at the photos, that I noticed it. Ah!
After our tour of the rooms, we had time to look at Kusama’s paintings, sculptures, and textiles.
Here, you see the progression of Kusama’s early works leading up to “Infinity Mirrors.”
Kusama’s ease with color and pattern is displayed throughout the exhibit. So is her sense of fun.
I think Kusama’s message and mood comes through in the Infinity Mirrors exhibit, and that’s why the exhibit is so appealing to so many.
Beyond contemplating your existence, you may be inspired to paint dots. I thought that I’d give it a try.
Surprisingly, the act of painting an array of circles is calming. It wasn’t boring like I thought it would be. And the less perfect the circles were, the better I liked the results.
Quite an analogy, right?
Every couple of generations, an artist is able to generate excitement and enthusiasm for the fine arts. People take notice, and seek to experience the art for themselves.
It seems appropriate that Yayoi Kusama is the artist for our time.
Tickets for the remaining weeks of the exhibit are sold on Mondays starting at 9 am via the Museum’s website, cma.org/kusama and by phone at 216-421-7350.
© 2018 auntjoannblog.com. All rights reserved. See Legalese tab for permissions.