A few days back I checked out a rather nifty little exhibition in Dallas.
Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkins have taken over the Dallas Museum of Art and they are marvelous!
Born on March 22, 1929 in Matsumoto City, Kusama grew up in a family who made their living by cultivating seeds, and as such she has a fascination with the natural world. She identifies with pumpkins especially and admires their unique forms.
“‘Pumpkin head’ was an epithet used to disparage ugly, ignorant men, and the phrase ‘Put eyes and a nose on a pumpkin’ evoked a pudgy and unattractive woman. It seems that pumpkins do not inspire much respect. But I was enchanted by their charming and winsome form. What appealed to me most was the pumpkin’s generous unpretentiousness. That and its solid spiritual base” (Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama
You enter the museum and after walking through a long corridor, there is a tiny room on the left where all the fun begins.
A girl with a stopwatch guards the room and makes sure no one overstays their welcome.
Inside, there’s magic. And referring to All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins as an “immersive art experience” is wholly accurate, as you are invited to step inside the installation, essentially becoming part of the art.
“All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” 2016 Yayoi Kusama
You see a patent black floor, littered with glowing, polka dot pumpkins, surrounded on all sides by highly polished mirrors.
Once you step inside the mirrored space, the artwork is intrinsically altered by your presence, your reflection becoming mingled in the repetitive imagery. The almost psychedelic effect makes the experience uniquely individual to each visitor.
Pumpkins for as far as the eye can see!
You get the room to yourself for 45 seconds to a minute, depending how busy the gallery is. To put this in perspective, that’s the length of time it supposedly takes to make a standard ATM withdrawal. And while waiting for your money to discharge from a machine may seem like an eternity, it passes all too quickly when trying to fully appreciate the sight of 62 yellow-and-black pumpkins purposefully placed on the ground, their glowing forms cast into an illusory infinity by the mirrored walls within. (I got to spend just 45 seconds in there and didn’t quite feel satisfied. I wish there was more time to feel fully immersed in the world of Kusama).
Check out this video clip!
And while the experience of viewing Kusama’s installation can’t be fully appreciated through mere photographs, it is a better option than not being able to experience this intimate work at all.
Where: Stoffel Quadrant Gallery – Dallas Museum of Art
When: On view until February 25, 2018
Tickets: $16 per person timed ticket with discounts for students, seniors, and military.
You can pick your time slot and book here
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