Yayoi Kusama mirror room coming to Indianapolis museum

Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1929), ‘All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins,’ 2016, wood, mirror, plastic, acrylic, LED, 115 1/8 × 163 3/8 × 163 3/8 in. Dallas Museum of Art, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2018.12.A-I © Yayoi Kusama, Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore / Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London / Venice

INDIANAPOLIS – Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms may well have inspired the notion of immersive experiences with art. A pioneer in the genre, the first of these rooms debuted in 1965. Now, the first mirror pumpkin room created since 1991 is coming to Newfields. All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, which was acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art in 2017, will be on view at Newfields from Oct. 3 through March 29 under the title of “Infinitely Kusama.”

Although the pumpkin motif first appeared in her works in the 1940s, Kusama’s fascination with the “charming and winsome form” began when she was a child growing up in a family that cultivated and sold seeds in Japan. In this installation, the glowing gourds, based on the Japanese kabocha squash, are adorned with her signature polka-dot pattern, which creates the sensation of standing in an endless field of Kusama’s pumpkins.

While many of the museum’s artworks hang on walls, this work, filled with acrylic yellow pumpkins covered in black polka dots, will encompass an entire gallery.

Kusama has been pushing the limits of avant-garde art and making international headlines since the early 1960s, shortly after she arrived in New York City and had her first solo show.

Alexandra Munroe, who organized Kusama’s first retrospective in the U.S. in 1989, recently called her “the undiscovered genius whose late fame is justly deserved,” noting that the artist’s story of struggle and triumph resonates with a new generation. As proof: In some cities, fans have waited in line for up to six hours to spend 45 to 60 seconds in one of her famed Infinity Mirror Rooms.

As a young artist, Kusama invented a unique visual language, characterized by the compulsive repetition of colored forms. In 1965, she had a breakthrough and produced her first immersive chamber, Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field. In doing so, the artist translated her recognizable visual language from a two-dimensional format into a multidimensional participatory experience.

Kusama ventures fearlessly into new media. Since then, she has created distinct rooms in which viewers become an integral part of the art, because they, too, are replicated in the reflective surfaces of the installations. Her Infinity Mirror Rooms make the experience specific to each visitor, creating a highly personalized moment.

“Infinitely Kusama” is a complement to Newfield’s “Seasons of Japan” exhibition, which takes in 700 years of Japanese art and culture.