Yayoi Kusama has unveiled a new Infinity Mirror Room at David Zwirner in New York, which all but guarantees lines around the block between now and the show’s December 14 closing date.
It’s a big month for Kusama, who also will debut a massive balloon (30 feet long, 36 feet wide, and 34 feet tall) in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The nationally televised spectacle, typically beamed into 50 million households, is sure to heighten the Kusama fever.
Yayoi Kusama, INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE (2019) in “Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray for Love” at David Zwirner in New York. Photo courtesy David Zwirner.
Kusama’s last Zwirner outing was in 2017, and featured an Infinity Room that effectively functioned as a mashup of some of her most-loved bodies of work: the selfie-friendly mirrored chamber was filled with the reflective steel orbs of her seminal Narcissus Garden installation, and also contained a smaller peephole Infinity Room.
Of course, there were no fewer than 75,000 visitors, some of them waiting in line for up to six hours for their chance to experience the Kusama craze for themselves. This time around, Zwirner is bracing for even bigger crowds, with up to 100,000 visitors expected.
In anticipation, the gallery has prepared an FAQ page, warning guests not to bring selfie sticks, and offering advice about when to come:
“It’s impossible to guarantee, but for the Kusama show in 2017, the shortest wait times were often early weekday mornings.”
The exhibition, first announced in June, takes place across two floors and features the latest additions to the 90-year-old Japanese artist’s colorful “My Eternal Soul” paintings. There are also new organic-looking soft sculptures, cast aluminum relief works that vaguely recall Pablo Picasso ceramics, a large pumpkin, and the installation Clouds, which includes 90 blob-like mirrored sculptures lying on the floor. In a darkened room on the second floor, a colorful illuminated sculpture, Ladder to Heaven, appears to extend into never-ending mirrored tunnels at both ends.
Yayoi Kusama, Clouds (2019) in “Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray for Love” at David Zwirner in New York. Photo by Sarah Cascone.
But the big draw is always the Infinity Rooms. The newest addition to the series, INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE, contains large hanging light globes that shift from white to red before abruptly going dark. The viewer is left in the dark for a moment, before the shining orbs slowly flicker back to life. It’s an experience, it must be said, that is slightly less than optimal for selfies, but is still sure to provide visitors with plenty of Instagram fodder.
You’re allowed to experience the room for a full minute, which Kusama vets will tell you is a comparative eternity: During the artist’s blockbuster 2017–18 touring exhibition, attendees got a mere thirty seconds inside each installation. And while the lack of timed tickets makes it nearly impossible to avoid a long line, the Zwirner exhibition has the benefit of being free of charge and open to the public.
If you’re not up for the Infinity Room lines, you can also head four blocks north to the new Chelsea outpost of Rome’s Mucciaccia Galleries, which will present 28 works by the artist dating from 1951 to 2008. And Kusama will be back in New York come May with a show at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Internationally, the Gropius Bau in Berlin, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and the Fondation Beyeler in Basel announced plans this week to present a joint retrospective of her work starting next September.
Installation view of “Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray for Love” at David Zwirner in New York. Photo courtesy David Zwirner.
Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkin (2019) in “Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray for Love” at David Zwirner. Photo courtesy David Zwirner.
Yayoi Kusama, Ladder to Heaven (2019) in “Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray for Love” at David Zwirner. Photo courtesy David Zwirner.
“Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray for Love” will be on view at David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street, New York, New York, November 9–December 14, 2020.
“Yayoi Kusama” will be on view at Mucciaccia Galleries, 520 West 24th Street, New York, November 10, 2019–January 30, 2020.