Reflective Moment

Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden at Philip Johnson’s Glass House opens May 1

Art East
©KUSAMA STUDIO
©KUSAMA STUDIO

There is a new art installation at the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut opening this Sunday. The exhibit is called Yayoi Kusama: Narcissus Garden and will feature 1,300 giant reflective floating orbs, each 12 inches in diameter. The spheres by avant-garde and minimalist Japanese-born artist (and writer) Yayoi Kusama will float in a restored pond in the lower meadow, part of the 49 acre Glass House property.

“We are honored to be working with Yayoi Kusama, an artist Philip Johnson both admired and collected,” said Irene Shum, Curator and Collections Manager at the Glass House, in a statement. “This exhibition playfully engages the entire site, creating a celebratory mood for Philip Johnson’s 110th birthday and the 10th year since the opening of this museum.”

©KUSAMA STUDIO

©KUSAMA STUDIO

Narcissus Garden was originally created and first installed at the 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966, where Kusama sold globes to people walking by her work for $2. She drew people in with two signs hawking “NARCISSUS GARDEN, KUSAMA” and “YOUR NARCISSIUM [sic] FOR SALE.”

With Kusama’s penchant for neon candy colors and bold shapes (often polka dots, which she believes stands in for our souls) her work is said to have influenced Pop artists, including Andy Warhol. The Glass House will also feature two additional Kusama works on site. One is PUMPKIN (2015).

“The first time I saw a pumpkin was in a farm in elementary school. In Japanese, a ‘pumpkin head’ is an ignorant man or a pudgy woman, but for me, I am charmed by its shape, form, and lack of pretension,” Kusama said in a statement.

©KUSAMA STUDIO

©KUSAMA STUDIO

The Glass House will host a third Kusama work: Dots Obsession – Alive, Seeking for Eternal Hope, that is set to cover the Glass House in polka dots September 1-26, 2016.

“My desire is to measure and to make order of the infinite, unbounded universe from my own position within it, with polka dots. In exploring this, the single dot is my own life, and I am a single particle amongst billions,” said Kusama. “I work with the principal themes of infinity, self-image, and compulsive repetition in objects and forms, such as the steel spheres of Narcissus Garden and the mirrored walls I have created.”

Narcissus Garden will run through November 30, 2016.

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