C California Style

Yayoi Kusama’s The Obliteration Room, 2002. Visitors are asked to cover the originally all-white space with colored polka-dot stickers. Photography by QAGOMA Photography. © Yayoi Kusama

Never-Ending Story

by C California Style

The wonderland environments of artist and polka-dot queen Yayoi Kusama reflect a Japanese woman’s lifelong obsession with infinity.

Her mirrored rooms are filled with dotted objects that appear to multiply endlessly; the tiny yellow lights of Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, for instance, evoke the mystery of being suspended in space.

For The Broad’s first visiting special exhibit, “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors,” museumgoers will have the opportunity to experience six of the artist’s rooms, as well as her incredibly detailed “Infinity Net” paintings (which turned abstract impressionism on its head in the 1950s), her signature “Accumulation” assemblages (domestic objects such as furniture that appear to be consumed by protrusions) and exuberant figures that call to mind peasant or folk art.

For most of her life, the 88-year-old Kusama has been a towering female figure in the male-dominated art world. Her work, which also encompasses antiwar happenings, optical art and film, channels her mental illness—she has been willingly institutionalized since the 1970s. She often paints what she sees, interpreting the literal into a magic-tinged, overwhelming abstract. Oct. 21-Jan 1. 221 S. Grand Ave., L.A., 213-232-6200; thebroad.org.

Written and edited by ELIZABETH KHURI CHANDLER.


This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of C Magazine.