Friday, October 23, 2020

Spirit of Kusama Pumpkins Sprouts at Miami Institute of Contemporary Art


In the endless summer that is Florida, it’s nigh impossible to find seasonal spirit in the natural world. While our friends up north are sipping cider, busting out the Barbour jackets and frolicking through fields of pumpkins, we’re slathering on the SPF for another day at the beach (trust me, I’m not complaining about this).

Enter Yayoi Kusama, one of the world’s most recognizable and commercially successful living artists, and her spangled pumpkins. Pumpkins are to Kusama what Campbell’s soup cans are to Warhol, and they’ve come to Miami. Her Infinity Mirror Room exhibit, “All The Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins,” debuted at Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) this October, and runs until the end of January 2020.

“Kusama’s work has made art accessible in radical new ways,” says ICA’s Artistic Director, Alex Gartenfeld. “We are proud to present ‘All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins,’ as this will be the first time one of Kusama’s signature immersive installations can be viewed by the public in Miami.”

Kusama, who celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year, experienced hallucinations as a young child growing up in Japan. In her visions, she would be consumed by swirling patterns – such as polka dots – multiplying in a limitless field.

Fast-forward nine decades, and Kusama’s signature Infinity Mirror Rooms – which often feature her beloved polka-dotted autumnal gourds – are artistic blockbusters. People line up for blocks to experience a Kusama infinity mirror room. You enter a room that is “made-for-Instagram.” Kusama’s Mirror Rooms are often (but not always) dark; lit only by the LED lights embedded in her art. Mirrors line the walls and ceiling, providing viewers with the illusion of infinity.

While solitary Kusama pumpkins can be spotted in the wild as stand-alone art installations, stepping “through the looking glass” and into an Infinity Mirror Room is an otherworldly experience.

First off, the Infinity Mirror Room is experienced solo. Only one person at a time is allowed in. “We’re anticipating extremely high demand, and we want to make sure everyone has a positive experience with the artwork,” Gartenfeld says.

Secondly, you are only allowed one minute (and sometimes less) inside the Kusama Infinity Mirror Room – that’s 60 seconds to contemplate the nature of “forever,” peer inside the wild and wondrous mind of one of the greatest artists alive, or whip out the phone and start Instagramming.

We won’t blame you if you pick the latter.

Yayoi Kusama’s “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” is open Thursdays through Sundays from Saturday, October 12, 2019 through Friday, January 31, 2020, at 112 NE 41st St., Suite 106, Miami; 305-901-5272. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.icamiami.org.

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