Photos: Inside The Big New Yayoi Kusama Show In Chelsea
The last time David Zwirner staged a Yayoi Kusama exhibition, in November 2017, the line to get into one of the artist’s famed Infinity Mirrored Rooms stretched well past two hours. And that was with a one-minute time limit per group of four. Given the fact that Instagram hasn’t exactly died down in the past two years, and Kusama’s fame has grown even bigger over that time, there’s no reason to think it won’t be more of the same outside Zwirner’s gallery for the next five weeks. Her new show, Every Day I Pray For Love, kicks off this weekend.
The debut of Kusama’s new Infinity Mirrored Room, called “Dancing Lights That Flew Up Into The Universe,” will attract much of the attention here, but there’s lots more to the exhibition, and all of it is totally free (and likely free of lines as well). The large gallery downstairs features dozens of new paintings from her My Eternal Soul series, with titles such as “Millions of Hopes For Love,” “Sublime Souls Dancing In the Universe,” and “The Splendor Of The Mystery Of The Mountainous Creation At The End Of The Universe That Was Told In The Universe Of The Unknown World Is At Its Limitation That Is Beyond Words.”
Also here in the main room is a sprawling new floor installation, made up of 90 organically shaped reflective pieces. It’s called “Clouds,” but it reads to me more like drops of water getting blown across the surface by wind, or maybe as liquid mercury doing its shimmery dance. There’s a new polka-dotted Pumpkin on the first floor as well, a black & white beauty set under the stairwell by the Infinity Mirrored Room line.
My personal favorite part of the show is up on two, Kusama’s new color-changing, LED-lit “Ladder To Heaven,” which is set between two round mirrors and appears to extend forever in both directions. This is the first time Zwirner has ever shown one of these Kusama creations, and not only is it cool to stare at, it may also make for an even better social media photo op than the Infinity Mirrored Room… if you’re into that sort of thing.
The other gallery on the second floor holds an array of pointy fabric sculptures, so bright and shiny they look almost like glass, that depict a family of strange creatures set amidst a sort of spiky garden. On the wall is a wonderful collection of raised, sculptural paintings depicting Kusuma’s repeating faces in profiles, which are very trippy and fun.
Do you know Kusuma’s story? How she’s been hallucinating since she was a child in Japan during World War II, and painting what she “sees” since the 1950s? How she spent the 1960s in New York City, creating art, protesting the Vietnam War, and staging happenings like the Grand Orgy To Awaken The Dead At MoMA? How, after several suicide attempts, she voluntarily moved into a Tokyo psychiatric hospital in 1977, where she’s lived ever since? An amazing life. And this Thanksgiving, you’ll see her work floating above the streets of Manhattan at the big parade.
Yayoi Kusama’s Every Day I Pray For Love opens tomorrow night, Saturday, November 9th, at 6 p.m., and runs through December 14th. David Zwirner is located at 537 West 20th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance into the Infinity Mirrored Room will once again be limited to one minute for each group of four, with a separate line to get in. Admission, as always, is free. Next year, the NYBG will host Kusama’s “Cosmic Nature” exhibit.