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Artistic Inspiration

Infinity Mirrors: Yayoi Kusama at The Broad

“Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos” Yayoi Kusama

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Yayoi Kusama, The Obliteration Room (2002)


The hottest ticket in Los Angeles is the Broad’s "Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors," a survey of the 88-year-old Japanese artist’s five-decade body of work. The museum sold out all 50,000 tickets in the first hour, and each morning, a queue forms outside for the opportunity to pay $30 for a standby ticket at the door. The show opened to the public on October 21 and is the first US museum exhibit dedicated to the insanely popular installations.

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Yayoi Kusama, Dots Obsession – Love Transformed Into Dots (2007)


In addition to viewing Kusama’s paintings and personal ephemera, each ticket guarantees a coveted 30-second slot inside each of the six “infinity rooms” — mirrored chambers in which sparkling LED lights or floating orbs form an immersive, kaleidoscopic abyss. For Kusama, the infinite fields of light meant the dematerialization of the body becoming one with the universe; for most ticketholders, however, it’s an awesome selfie.

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Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field (1965)


Although the works seem tailor-made for the age of social media, Kusama first introduced the work back in the 1960s. Her first room, Phalli’s Field (1965), filled with stuffed, tentacle-like white sculptures decorated with red polka dots, is part of the current exhibition. Kusama’s work is often described with adjectives like “mind-bending,” and for good reason — her art is inspired by her mental illness. “All my works in pastels are the products of obsessional neurosis and are therefore inextricably connected to my disease,” she told BOMB in a 1999 interview.

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Yayoi Kusama, Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (2009)


A master of painting, performance art, sculpture and installation, Kusama has dedicated herself to her work with a rare intensity since the 1950s, driven by the desire to translate her hallucinatory visions into art. Stepping into one of her rooms, the viewer is meant to contemplate their own insignificance in the face of infinitude.

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Yayoi Kusama, The Obliteration Room (2002)


The grand finale is The Obliteration Room (2002), an all white space that visitors are invited to cover with colored polka dot stickers, transforming it over the course of the show’s run.

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Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room – Love Forever (1966/94)


The infinity rooms are limited to only one or two people at once, so visitors spend the rest of their time in the exhibit exploring those soft sculptures as well as early works on paper, intricate paintings.

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Yayoi Kusama, Living on the Yellow Land (2015), My Adolescence in Bloom (2014)


To find out more about the exhibit and the Broad Museum, visit https://www.thebroad.org/

All photography by Nicole Latorre, Used with Permission