Yayoi Kusama, “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity,” 2009. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York. © Yayoi Kusama
By Jim Bleyer
As a ten-year-old in Matsumoto, Japan, Yayoi Kusama began to experience vivid hallucinations—flashes of light, auras, flowers, fabric patterns, dense fields of dots. When she stared at them, they came to life, multiplying, engulfing and expunging her.
Kusama, now 89, describes these outre occurrences as “self-obliteration” and served as the primary influence on an internationally acclaimed artistic career.
Her “Infinity Mirrors” North American tour, which reflects and interprets those childhood experiences, culminates decades of critical triumphs. Tampa Bay art aficionados will have an opportunity to view Kusama’s work at Atlanta’s High Museum Nov. 18-Feb. 7.
A heads up for eager enthusiasts: to say the Kusama show is a tough ticket understates the situation. The boffo installations have been early sellouts at the five other tour stops.
Due to the anticipated enormous public response, tickets will be sold for specific time slots. High Museum members get first crack starting at 10 a.m., Aug. 27. Three weeks later, general admission tickets go on sale. (Ticket information below).
A word to the wise: purchase a membership to the High. You will not only get a huge leg up to view Kusama’s work, but you will join one of the country’s premier museums. The permanent collection includes more than 15,000 artworks across seven collecting areas: African Art, American Art, decorative arts and design, European art, folk and self-taught art, modern art, and contemporary art.
Organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the exhibition celebrates Kusama’s 65-year career with six of her mesmerizing Infinity Mirror Rooms plus other key works, including a number of paintings from her most recent series My Eternal Soul that have never been shown in the US.
Kusama is a true Renaissance woman. Though working primarily in sculpture and installation, she is also active in painting, fashion, film, performance, poetry and fiction.
Infinity Mirrors has sold out in every one of its five previous North American stops:
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, Feb 23–May 14, 2017
- Seattle Art Museum, June 30–Sept 10, 2017
- The Broad, Los Angeles, Oct 21, 2017–Jan 1, 2018
- Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, March 3–May 27, 2018
- Cleveland Museum of Art, July 9–Sept 30, 2018
—General admission tickets will go on sale Sept. 17 (beginning at 10 a.m. each weekday) and remain on sale until sold out.
—Advance tickets must be purchased through the High’s website: www.high.org. Due to the nature and popularity of the exhibition, all tickets will be sold for specific time slots. There are no refunds or exchanges for exhibition tickets, and tickets are non-transferable.
—Member admission prices are $14.50 for visitors ages 6 and over and $5 for ages 5 and under. Tickets for members are not guaranteed and must be purchased early. To be eligible to purchase a member ticket, you must sign up for a High membership by Aug. 17.
—General admission tickets for the exhibition are $29 for visitors ages 6 and over and $5 for ages 5 and under. All visitors (including infants) must have a timed ticket. One adult must accompany every two children ages 12 and under. One adult may purchase up to two $5 tickets for ages 5 and under.
—VIP tickets are available for $175 each and include an exhibition catalogue and special viewing hours. A limited number of tickets (approximately 100) will be available onsite at the Museum each day for walk-up purchase beginning on Nov. 18. Those tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and will be valid for that date only.
Beautifully illustrated and informative, owning the hard-cover catalogue is the next best thing to viewing the exhibit. With 200 pictures throughout the 224 pages, the catalogue sells for $49.95 and can be ordered online from the Smithsonian Store.