September 24, 2012

Last chance: Yayoi Kusama’s beautiful, fashionable, madness

By Samuel Jablon

Don't miss Yayoi Kusama's exhibition at the Whitney, up until September 30, in all its beautiful, fashionable, madness. Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama moved to the states in 1957, then returned to Japan in the early 1970’s. Everywhere, nowhere, and all over, Kusama's work--current, hip, creepy, and playful all at once--includes painting, sculpture, film, performance, poetry, and immersive installation. The theme throughout is illusion: the creation of seemingly endless space. Using dots and different accumulation strategies, she repeats, revisits, and launches into new formations, beautiful and terrifying. Her obsessive meditations on object making, repetition, pattern, psychedelic color, and performance are both timely and timeless.

The show begins with Kusama's early paintings, and I was surprised to see in the last gallery that Kusama has recently returned to painting. Everything else seems to be suspended in-between.

Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), I Want to Live Honestly, Like the Eye in the Picture, 2009. Synthetic polymer on canvas, 51 5/16 × 63 3/4 in. (130.3 × 162 cm). Collection of the artist. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; and Gagosian Gallery, New York

 Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), An Encounter with a Flowering Season, 2009. Synthetic polymer on canvas, 51 5/16 × 63 3/4 in. (130.3 × 162 cm). Collection of the artist. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; and Gagosian Gallery, New York

Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Late-night Chat is Filled with Dreams, 2009. Synthetic polymer on canvas, 63 3/4 × 63 3/4 in. (162 × 162 cm). Collection of the artist. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; and Gagosian Gallery, New York

Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), All about my Love, and I Long to Eat a Dream of the Night, 2009. Synthetic polymer on canvas, 51 5/16 × 63 3/4 in. (130.3 × 162 cm). Collection of the artist. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; and Gagosian Gallery, New York

In the museum’s lobby galleryFireflies on Water, an installation comprising lights, mirrors and water, is on display, but the tickets are timed, with an allotment of one minute per visitor. If you want to see this part of the exhibition, go early because tickets for the day are usually spoken for by noon. The installation creates a space in which "individual viewers are invited to transcend their sense of self." 

"Yayoi Kusama," Whitney Museum, New York, NY. On view through September 30, 2012.

-----

Subscribe to Two Coats of Paint by email.

0 comments: