The Trippy, Kaleidoscopic Journey of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors Exhibit


Arriving early to this hugely popular exhibit is critical as the lines start forming around 9 AM. It’s the first exhibition of its kind to explore the evolution of iconic Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama’s, kaleidoscopic Infinity Mirror Rooms in the U.S and it made its debut in D.C. at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.


The exhibit examines Kusama’s 65-year career including six of her enchanting large-scale paintings, whimsical light and mirror installations, sculpture and rare archival material.


Kusama was born in Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan, in 1929, and currently, works at her studio in Tokyo. She studied Nihonga (Japanese-style) painting in Kyoto and moved to New York City in 1958 where she was active in avant-garde circles alongside artists like Andy Warhol.


Each and every station at the exhibit is magical. Visitors are given about 20 to 30 seconds to experience each boxed installation and then move onto the next.


The “Infinity Mirror Room—Love Forever” (1966/1994), a hexagonal chamber, viewers can peer from the outside, seeing colored flashing lights that reflect endlessly from ceiling to floor.


In the 60’s, Kusama staged underground polka dot “Happenings” on the streets of New York. Her signature featured in “Dots Obsession—Love Transformed into Dots” (2007), is a domed mirror room surrounded by inflatables suspended from the ceiling.


Later, she would create the Infinity Mirror Room, “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” (2016). These glowing gourds are child-like, spotted, and other-worldly. Kusama has the ability to create whimsical landscapes that go on forever with repetitions of pumpkins and polka dots.


The finale of the exhibit is the “The Obliteration Room” (2002). It’s an interactive installation where visitors are invited to an all-white replica of a traditional home dwelling and given multicolored polka dot stickers to cover the surface of the furnished gallery.

A fitting ending to a spectacular exhibit.

The exhibit is running through May 14, 2017.

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Cecilia Mencia is founder of and an independent, DC-based journalist.

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