Infinite Kusama


Yayoi Kusama at the Seattle Art Museum

I'm sure if you're on Instagram you've at least seen someone posing in a room full of mirrors and dots, or heard the name Yayoi Kusama recently. I first encountered her work in college, when I had a work study project hanging art posters in a wing of the art department. Her poster was striking - an image of the artist lying naked covered in polka dots. And many years later, her themes have only intensified. 

Getting tickets to the show at the Seattle Art Museum was something I had given up on from the get go - they sold out so quickly that there seemed to be no point in trying. But as luck would have it, I happened upon an announcement on Facebook from SAM releasing more tickets. After 40 minutes of battling with the crashing web page and constant refreshing, two tickets were mine! And even luckier, my Seattle friend Jenessa was available to go with me. 

One thing to be prepared for if you attend this show is the amount of time you'll be waiting in lines. The exhibit is made up of several "infinity rooms" which are timed at 20-30 seconds each. And they really mean 20-30 seconds, there's a gallery attendant with a stop watch outside each one! Entering each room is a sensory overload and you definitely have to get your camera ready if you want to capture some images in your 20-second allowance. We lucked out with a tip from the gallery attendant at the first room we visited, who clued us in on a "single rider" line for the Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity room (shown in the first picture). The line for that room was ridiculously long but if we went alone and allowed ourselves to be tagged on to another group, we could skip the line. This saved us SO MUCH time. This was my favorite room of them all and I wish I could have experienced it again but by the time we'd done them all, even the single rider line was long. 

The experience of being in these rooms was magical. Some felt intense and chaotic while others were calming and womb-like. Some of the rooms you physically entered and some you were only able to look into (like the one above). The show culminated with The Obliteration Room, where we were given a sheet of stickers to help obliterate the white space in the room. 

While the experience of each room was mind blowing, what really got me emotional was a 20-minute interview video with Yayoi Kusama where she talked about her inspiration and meaning behind her work. She said that the infinity rooms with their endless mirrors represented her "ever-expanding hope" in the future. This kind of optimistic work was such a breath of fresh air for me. In these current times, when so many situations seem dire, having a joyful and colorful participatory art show like this is uplifting and courageous. 

If you get the chance to experience this show, please go. And Instagram it all with no shame - it's what Kusama wants!

You may also like

No comments: