Organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, this is the first institutional survey exhibition to explore the evolution of the celebrated Japanese artist’s immersive Infinity Mirror Rooms. The exhibition continues until May 27, 2018 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and will be the only Canadian stop after drawing large crowds in Washington, Seattle, and Los Angeles in the United States.

This exhibition has been pulling in sold out crowds since its opening, and now those who didn’t get tickets the first time around have an opportunity to still catch this marvellous show before it ends. The next block of tickets goes on sale March 27 at 10 am. Online only. Maximum 4 tickets per transaction.  Tickets are $21.50 for post-secondary students and youth ages 17 and under, $26.50 for seniors and $30 for adults and are available online only through www.ago.ca. There is a maximum of four tickets available for purchase per transaction. Children 5 and under receive free admission, but must be counted within the four ticket maximum.

Featuring the North American debut of numerous new works, visitors are invited to enter alternative, whimsical worlds as they experience six of Kusama’s most iconic kaleidoscopic environments alongside the artist’s large-scale paintings, sculptures and works on paper.

The Infinity Mirror Rooms featured in Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors include:

  • Love Forever: hexagonal in shape and mirrored on all sides, this room features two peepholes that invite the viewer to peer in and see themselves and another viewer repeated into infinity.
  • The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away: like stars in the galaxy, hundreds of LED lights hang and flicker in a rhythmic pattern that seems to suspend both time and space as the viewer’s body vanishes into the infinite space.
  • All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins: featuring one of Kusama’s most repeated motifs, this pumpkin mirrored room transports the viewer to a space that recalls fairytales and fantasy. (Due to safety concerns, no photos are allowed in this room.)
  • Phalli’s Field: allowing Kusama’s vision to transcend the physical limitations of her own practice, this room creates hallucinatory scenes of phallic surfaces.
  • Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity: a reflection on the experience of death and the potential of the afterlife, this mesmerizing and intimate installation creates a world of flickering golden lanterns as the viewer immerses themselves in a shimmering pattern of light that contrasts with the seemingly endless void of the mirrored black space.
  • Dots Obsession – Love Transformed into Dots: large polka dotted balloons surround the viewer as they hang from the ceiling and occupy the floor. Engaging the viewer with its contrasting scales, this installation offers the opportunity to enter a mirrored room inside one of the balloons as well as squint through a small peephole to see a mirrored infinity.

The final large-scale installation of the exhibition is The Obliteration Room. Beginning as a pure white room of furniture and everyday objects, the viewer is invited to complete the work as they are given brightly coloured polka dot stickers to place wherever they want in the space, resulting in a gradual transformation of stark white to colour explosion during the run of the exhibition.

Organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrorswas previously displayed at the Seattle Art Museum (June–Sept. 2017), The Broad in Los Angeles (Oct. 2017–Jan. 2018) and following the AGO, it will travel to the Cleveland Museum of Art (July–Oct. 2018) and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (Nov. 2018–Feb. 2019).

Another Yayoi Kusama work will be featured in the AGO free with admission. Narcissus Garden features over 1,300 stainless-steel mirror balls and will be spread throughout the AGO’s Signy-Eaton Gallery from February 24, 2018 to April 29, 2018.

The AGO is pleased to extend the Infinity Mirrors experience with a range of exhibition-related programming, including:

  • First Thursdays: the AGO presents two Kusama-themed First Thursdays in March and April. The First Thursday in March will be curated by OCADU students in the Criticism and Curatorial Practice program.
  • Curator’s Talk with Mika Yoshitake: On Feb. 28, join Mika Yoshitake, Curator of Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors and Curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden for a talk about Kusama’s life and work.
  • Family Day and March Break: The AGO will offer a number of family-friendly activities on Family Day as well as throughout a Kusama-themed March Break. On Family Day, families can enjoy a dance party and the famous bubble wrap room. Make sure to return during March Break for more activities with light and shadow, a futuristic cardboard city, homemade kaleidoscopes, and a selfie wall.
  • Yayoi Kusama: A Life in Polka Dots: a screening (on a date yet to be determined) of this documentary exploring Kusama’s journey from a conservative upbringing in Japan to her brush with fame in America during the 1960s (where she rivaled Andy Warhol for press attention) and concludes with the international fame she has finally achieved in the art world.

During the run of the show, there will be a very limited number of same-day timed tickets released at the AGO box office each morning at 10 am, with a maximum of two tickets per transaction. Inside the exhibition, two to three visitors will be allowed in each Infinity Mirror Room at once and will have a limit of 20 to 30 seconds. Wait times are estimated at 20 minutes per room.

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Kusama was born in Matsumoto, Nagano, in 1929, and works at her studio in Tokyo. She studied traditional Nihonga (Japanese-style) painting in Kyoto and moved to New York City in 1958. There, she was active in avant-garde circles during the formative years of pop art and minimalism, exhibiting her work alongside such artists as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow—figures who have cited Kusama as influential to the development of assemblage, environmental art and performative practices. Kusama exhibited widely in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands in the mid-’60s, participating in exhibitions with artists associated with Nul, Zero and the New Tendency in Europe, where she began developing her interest in the optics and interactive elements of mirrors, electric lights, sound and kinetics. Kusama’s fame grew in the late 1960s through her radical antiwar happenings, which espoused nudity and polka dots in the streets of New York. Because of ongoing struggles with her health, Kusama returned to Japan in 1973, where she has since resided. In recent years, Kusama has achieved celebrity status as well as tremendous critical respect.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.