I saw a stunning art exhibit over the holidays

Over the holidays we visited the Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit with our niece and nephew and their two children. (They missed the exhibit in their hometown, so enticed us to see it with them here.) The exhibit, consisting of six walk-in installations and adjoining paintings, collages, and sculptures, was the most fascinating I’ve ever experienced.

We saw the installations in groups of two, three, or four people only and were allowed to stay in them for 30 seconds. Each made use of mirrors to create the repetition of her designs – lights, phallic symbols, polka dots and huge balloons – that she otherwise would have had to do by hand.  That made the work less time-consuming and less taxing on the 88-year old Kusama. She also used the mirrors as a way to include visitors in the experience. And sure enough we could see ourselves as we looked at what she had created with the mirrors.

In between the installations we were able to stroll at leisure among her other work, dating back from the 1950s and 1960s. And before we went into the last room, we were given a card with several polka dot stickers on in different colors and sizes. We were told not to leave that room until we had stuck up all of the stickers anywhere in the room we liked.

I have never seen an exhibit like this – so programmed, yet so stunning. I would step inside and be in total overwhelm at what I saw and even a little disoriented at first. Unfortunately, the Broad show ended on January 1. I suggest you find it at another museum. It’s well worth a trip.

Yayoi Kusama, born March 22, 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan is a Japanese artist who was a self-described “obsessional artist,” known for her extensive use of polka dots and for her infinity installations. In fact she is sometimes called the Princess of Dots.

She has met and inspired important artists including Donald Judd, Andy Warhol, and Joseph Cornell, and her art was a part of exciting art developments such as pop art and minimalism. She was also one of the first artists to experiment with performance and action art. As well as being an art pioneer, Yayoi Kusama puts her creativity into other things including music, design, writing, and fashion.

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