Inspired by Adele? Where to See More of Yayoi Kusama's Hypnotic Installations

Inspired by Adele? Where to See More of Yayoi Kusama's Hypnotic Installations

The famed Japanese artist's work provide a great excuse for culture-focused jet-setting.

By Karen Gardiner

Last month, Adele was filmed singing “When We Were Young” against a twinkling, almost hypnotic backdrop. The video was filmed in Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room, currently on view at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles. In an interview, Adele said she first noticed the work via Katy Perry’s Instagram. (That's where we get most of our good ideas too.) 

The stamp of approval from two of the world’s biggest pop stars is no mean feat, but Kusama, who has been exhibiting her work since the 1950s, doesn’t exactly need the recognition: She is herself one of the most successful artists in the world, known for her distinct visual language and its recurring motifs of polkadots, pumpkins, and bright colors. If you are the type of jet-setter who travels for the art (or, let’s be honest, the Instagram opportunities) here are a few places you should visit this spring and summer.

1. Los Angeles

Adele is not the only one to have been taken with Kusama’s Infinity Room. Since opening at Los Angeles’s newest museum, The Broad, last fall, the installation, where a dark room lit up by a galaxy of shimmering lights that feel like taking a stroll in outer space, has provided immeasurable Instagram fodder. The piece premiered at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City in 2013, where lines formed around the block. In an effort to keep things moving, the Broad is issuing tickets to enter the piece and limiting the time visitors can spend in to a mere minute. Needless to say, you wont be filming your latest music video on that timeline. It's on view through September.

2. Honolulu

Kusama’s latest work is her first on the Hawaiian Islands. Footprints of Life went on view in mid-March, as a preview of next spring’s Honolulu Biennial, for which Kusama will be creating even more new, site-specific works. The installation is made up of 15 pink and black blobs, decorated in Kusama’s trademark polkadots. Some have noted they resemble Kahuli tree snails, local to O’ahu and used to decorate leis in the mid-20th century, causing their near-extinction. Footprints of Life is on view through May 13 at the Ward Village Shops in Honolulu.

3. Naoshima, Japan

Karen Gardiner

Globetrotting art fans will be flocking to Japan’s Seto Inland Sea this year for the latest edition of the Setouchi Triennale, a contemporary art festival held throughout the tiny islands in this picturesque part of the world. On Naoshima, the most famous of the islands, Kusama’s six-foot-tall black-and yellow polka-dotted fiberglass pumpkin sits permanently at the end of a pier, to the delight of kids and aesthetes alike. The first installment of the festival begins March 20.

4. Oslo, Norway

In Infinity, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective of six decades of the artist’s career, was the Danish museum’s third most-visited exhibition when it drew to a close in January. If you missed it, fear not, the exhibition, packed full of infinity rooms, endless rows of pumpkins, an obliteration room and a new series of specially commissioned paintings, is now on view at Oslo’s Henie-Onstad Art Centre through May. After Oslo, the exhibition travels to Stockholm’s Moderna Museet and Helsinki Art Museum.

5. Dunedin, New Zealand

Kusama’s The Obliteration Room, a hit of the New York City art scene last summer, has gone down under to Dunedin Public Art Gallery. The installation begins life as an all-white living room, which visitors are invited to “obliterate” by sticking colorful dot stickers (handed out upon entrance) wherever they please: on objects, furniture and surfaces. Over time, the space transforms into a riot of colors. The installation is on view through August 7.

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