New Yorkers are used to standing on ridiculously long lines to visit some of the most Instagrammable places the city has to offer. In 2013, we went wild for Japanese conceptual artist Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Rooms,” presented in the exhibit “I Who Have Arrived in Heaven.” If you missed the rooms then, here’s your second chance to experience infinity: the David Zwirner gallery is presenting two major concurrent exhibitions of recent works by Kusama across three gallery spaces in New York: Festival of Life at 525 and 533 West 19th Street in Chelsea and Infinity Nets on 34 East 69th Street on the Upper East Side.
In addition to sixty-six paintings from Kusama’s My Eternal Soul series, the exhibition features new large-scale flower sculptures, a polka-dotted environment, new Infinity Nets paintings, and two Infinity Mirror Rooms in the Chelsea locations. You can expect to stand on long lines — the gallery estimates a two to four hour wait — before getting the opportunity to step inside the spaces, where you’re encounter Kusama’s stimulating and photogenic works of art.
Lucas Zwirner, the gallery’s editorial director, notes that Kusama’s art is known for its utopian and hallucinatory qualities: the resulting effect is an indescribable sensory experience that is cultivated through paintings, performances, installations, films and “room-size presentations.”
Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room Love Forever, 1966/1994. Installation view, YAYOI KUSAMA, LeConsortium, Dijon, France, 2000. Image ©Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London; YAYOI KUSAMA Inc.
Presented in the Festival of Life exhibitions, the first of two mirror rooms (“Longing for Eternity”) invites viewers to look through three peepholes into a room that is filled with miniature color-changing lights; the other (“Let’s Survive Forever) allows guests to walk inside a space that is covered in reflective stainless steel balls.
Yayoi Kusama, INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM-LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER, 2017 Image ©Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London; YAYOI KUSAMA Inc.
In addition to these famed rooms, the Festival of Life also displays 66 paintings from Kusama’s My Eternal Soul series, which begun in the late 2000s. The highly celebrated collection of works is characterized by abstract and figurative elements that come together to offer impressions of microscopic and macroscopic universes.
Yayoi Kusama, With All My Love for The Tulips, I Pray Forever ,2012. Installation View, YAYOI KUSAMA ETERNITY OF ETERNAL ETERNITY, the National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan, 2012. Image ©Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London; YAYOI KUSAMA Inc.
Image ©Yayoi Kusama
You’ll also encounter an immersive installation, With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever, that incorporates an all white room with red polka dots. Inside, oversized tulips, bearing the same pattern, are scattered throughout the space. Furthermore, on display in the Upper East Side gallery are the latest works in a Kusama series that began in the 1950s: called the “Infinity Net” paintings, it features nets displayed across monochrome backgrounds.
Now on view until December 16, the “Festival of Life” exhibitions can be found at 525 and 533 West 19th Street in Chelsea and “Infinity Nets” at 34 East 69th Street on the Upper East Side.
Next, check out 14 Art Installations and Exhibits in NYC Not to Miss in November and see Kusama’s previous works.