Monday, July 24, 2017

POLKA DOTS: Yayoi Kusama at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. and Four City Tour

Inside the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.
“Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos.” Yayoi Kusama, 1968.
Polka dots were everywhere when I visited the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. in April and peeked through the open doors to the crowded galleries exhibiting the amazing artwork by this 87 year old Japanese artist.
Video of Yayoi Kusama is part of the exhibit
Infinity Mirrors at the Hirshhorn was just the first of a five city American tour of Yahoi Kusama’s amazing work. It will be at the Seattle Art Museum (June 30–Sept. 10, 2017), The Broad in Los Angeles (October 2017–January 2018), the Art Gallery of Ontario (March–May 2018) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (July–October 2018). It is a show not to be missed.
Paintings and whimsical sculptures
The Hirshhorn Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the nation's many Smithsonian museums.To quote the Smithsonian news release: “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” provides visitors with the unique opportunity to experience six of Kusama’s most iconic kaleidoscopic environments at once, alongside large-scale, whimsical installations and key paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the early 1950s to the present. It also marks the North American debut of numerous new works by the 87-year-old artist, who is still actively creating in her Tokyo studio.”
Looking into the Obliteration Room, where visitors apply multicolored stickers to walls and furniture
Tickets were so popular that I was not able to get one for my short stay in Washington. Luckily, the design of the Hirshhorn museum (like an oversize donut) is such that open doorways from the outer circular gallery provided a good look into the rooms where her art was displayed.
Polka dot balloons
And there was much more to see. In addition to the Kusama exhibit, there was an amazing display of orchids from the Smithsonian greenhouse on the main floor near the entrance, ranging from sprays of tiny blooms to giant flowers.
Orchids from the Smithsonian greenhouses
On the walls of the inner gallery on the second floor of the museum there were a series of large photographs of public clocks from around the world, one from every one of the world's time zones and each photo taken at exactly 1:55 p.m. It was a trip through time when time has stopped.
World Time Clock by Bettina Pousttchi
And on the third floor of the museum I viewed a varied display of modern paintings and sculptures, ranging from those by self-taught artists to pieces by many of the iconic names of the twentieth century.
Holy Mountain III, by self-taught artist Horace Pippin
So, even though I couldn’t get a Kusama ticket, my visit to the Hirshhorn was more than satisfying. And, I will get a second chance to see Infinity Mirrors when the show comes to Los Angeles in the fall.