Click bait: Yayoi Kusama unveils a social media-friendly exhibition in New York
As social media becomes more prevalent – and unavoidable – than ever, galleries and museums that once prohibited visitors from taking photographs are now encouraging them.
Perhaps no artist is more at home on social media than Yayoi Kusama. From her awe-inspiring Infinity Mirrors to fire-engine-red polka dots, the Japanese artist’s 70-plus-year career is filled with works that inspire, empower and, yes, are popular on Instagram.
Infinity-Nets [PQBME], by Yayoi Kusama, 2017. © Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London
Kusama’s current exhibition at New York gallery David Zwirner, ‘Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life’, encourages the viewer to experience Kusama’s works in real time – and for years to come on your feed.
‘[Her work] draws crowds of all ages [and] is a major phenomenon on social media,’ explains Lucas Zwirner, editorial director at David Zwirner. Kusama is now so popular on social media that David Zwirner is including hashtags and handles with the exhibition title for the first time.
Selfies will inevitably abound at the Chelsea gallery, which features both new and recent works. In one room, 66 paintings from Kusama’s My Eternal Soul series surround three new stainless steel sculptures. The exhibition marks the first time With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever (2011) – a full-room installation covered in Kusama’s signature spots – has been shown in the United States.
Dwelling of Love, by Yayoi Kusama, 2016. © Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London
Kusama’s two new Infinity Mirror Rooms are definite crowd-pleasers. One uses peepholes, mirrors and lights to emulate a kaleidoscope, while the other is covered in mirrors. ‘Her Infinity Rooms are some of the most Instagrammed artworks in the world,’ says Zwirner. ‘Kusama loves mirrors, and [once] said as long as mirrors give her infinity, she will continue to create mirrored artworks. The Infinity Mirror Rooms reflect the celebration of life and its aftermath.’
Once you’re done, head to David Zwirner’s uptown location, where 10 new Kusama paintings are on display.