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Around Here: September 2019

Yayoi Kusama: Love is Calling

This past weekend I visited Yayoi Kusama's "Love is Calling" infinity room at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) here in Boston.

In case you're not familiar, Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist who has been creating mirrored infinity rooms since the 1960s.  The experience of being in an infinity room is definitely reminiscent of a fun house mirror room -- but with lots of extra visual stimulation.  In "Love is Calling" the extra stimulation comes from polka-dotted plastic stalagmites and stalactites.

In the room, there is a recording of Yayoi Kusama reciting a poem in Japanese.  This is a translation of that poem:

Even with a timed ticket, you have to wait in line for a while...

...and then they open the door to the big white box and it seems like a magical world inside!

I've had the good fortune to visit a few other Kusama installations.

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To me, I both love and hate these installations.

I love them because they make me happy.  It's impossible not to smile and feel playful in that kind of funhouse environment.

I hate them because (a) they're just all about "getting the photo" and (b) there's a strict time limit (30-120 seconds, depending on the piece) on how long you can spend in the installation. 

I have literally never seen anyone in a Kusama installation not taking photos -- myself included.  And I understand the time limit -- there's always a wait.  But, can you really experience something meaningful in so brief a period of time?

What do you think?  Have you visited a Yayoi Kusama installation before?

Thanks for stopping by!