The Philip Johnson Glass House becomes a canvas for one of the world’s most avant-garde conceptual artists.
The Glass House becomes the latest object to be caught in one of Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Nets.”
The final of three installations by Kusama that have transformed the look and feel of the Philip Johnson estate opened earlier this month and will be up until September 26th. Those of you familiar with the iconic artist’s work will immediately recognize aspects of her ground-breaking Infinity Theory installation. Born in Japan in 1929, Yayoi Kusama has been using art to distribute her thoughts about the world around us via writings, fashion, performance, and her exhibitions. Dots have been a constant presence in her life (she suffers from hallucinations) and her work. They’ve represented herself, the earth, the sun, the moon, a field of humanity; “Polka-dots become movement…Polka dots are a way to infinity”, Kusama.
Her 1966 work, Narcissus Garden, reappears here albeit updated from the original plastic balls. Located in the Glass House’s Lower Meadow pond on the property, the 2016 version has 12-inch wide, stainless steel orbs set free and lolling about the water, allowed to float and move as a slothful kinetic sculpture reflecting the viewer and the environment in an interactive exhibit.
Visitors will also be treated to her enormous steel Pumpkin (2015), a joyful, lumpy, spotted, and bored gourd. Kusama says of the piece, “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.” Set upon a concrete pad, in a place of honor that once held Ellsworth Kelly’s Curve II (1973), this monumental piece is the artist’s over-sized signature, effectively tying the three works together with its mirrored surface, holes, and red interior.
Dots Obsession — Alive, Seeking Eternal Hope, where viewing outsider art from the inside is only the beginning of the juxtapositions; round shadows falling on straight lines and an all-over pattern enveloping the clear residence. The Philip Johnson Glass House looks right at home wearing the red circular window dressings of Kusama’s signature motif and amplifies the rigid bones of the architecture. The point-counter-point of the work of these two artists brings surrealness and order together beautifully.