One with Eternity

Reading this week:

  • Out of the Corner by Jennifer Grey

The other weekend, which will be a while ago when this post finally hits the presses (which I now note will be Christmas, merry Christmas!), my super amazing girlfriend and I went off to see the special exhibit at the Hirshhorn, “One with Eternity” about the work of Yayoi Kusama. The exhibit is remarkable for a variety of reasons which are helpfully detailed in the exhibit itself, but the most amazing one for the purposes of this post is just how absolutely instagrammable it all is considering that she started doing this stuff half a century ago! Extremely prescient. Or maybe humans have just always enjoyed mirrors

Anyways the upswing of it being instagrammable is that it has been in our friends’ instagram feeds for quite some time now. Doing some googling for this post I am discovering the Hirshhorn had a much larger display of her work back in 2017, but this smaller exhibit has been up since April. We hadn’t been able to go, because you had to show up early to get tickets and we just weren’t about that life, but now you can get them online and my super amazing girlfriend did so. So we arrived at the extremely reasonable hour of 1:30 in the afternoon and got to admiring.

It was a much smaller exhibition than I had thought given the density of instagram photos, but the major things on display were the pumpkin at the top (titled Pumpkin) which was very nice and vibrantly orange, and then the two other big things were infinity rooms. My first observation is that infinity is pretty tiny, fitting nicely as you can see into a large box of a small room with a door and a short pathway for you to enter. You are not allowed to bring bags or unworn coats inside, but there are cubbies for your convenience. There were not that many people in the exhibit the day we arrived so the Disney-esque lines they had set up were not really in use, but each group of two adults max got to see the art for 30 seconds. This was an interesting way to experience art, in regimented 30-second chunks where you are shut into the box that is the art with just yourself and your one other adult. I don’t think this was part of Kusama’s intention but it was a lot to fit all the desired contemplation into so short of time.

Also a major thing I hadn’t realized from the instagram posts is that this piece is titled Phalli’s Field, so this is a field of dongs, and an infinite one at that, all lovingly (I assume) sewed by Kusama herself. Fantastic. I hope she told the person at the fabric store what she was up to.

Anyways from the first infinity room you proceed to the next infinity room, which despite the fact it is just as infinite as the first it is about twice as big. This one you walked through instead of just into, both tricky things to do with infinity under normal circumstances, but since it was twice as big you got twice as long, a full minute to contemplate the uncontemplateable. My super amazing girlfriend liked this one, titled My Heart is Dancing into the Universe, a lot more because the big space balls meant you couldn’t see yourself as readily, though I perhaps disliked it by an equal amount for just about the same reason because I was also much less able to see an infinite number of her. For my camera it was moot in any case because the best picture of it I was able to capture is the below one, which is still a great picture though doesn’t manage to capture it exactly:

And so that was Yayoi Kusama, by far the most popular artist of the modern era if we only go by, as I have mentioned, my friends’ instagram feeds. I was glad we saw it. Worth the wait!