i who collect kusama

photo-19self-portrait inside Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room-  The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away 2013 @ David Zwirner.

kusama snakesYayoi Kusama, Manhattan Suicide Addict 2010-Present.

kusama wallYayoi Kusama, Manhattan Suicide Addict 2010-Present.

kusamaYayoi Kusama, Love is Calling 2013.

…Let me call out to and ask the birds flying about in the sky
I want to convey to them my feelings
Over many long years, with art as a weapon
I have treaded the path in search of love
During the days I have lived through keeping “despair”, “emptiness” and “loneliness” all to myself along the way
there were times when the fireworks of life “splendidly” adorned the sky
Dancing in the night sky in a myriad of colors, the fireworks sprinkled dust all over my body
I will never forget that exhilarating moment
Now I think is the time to dedicate my heart to you, my dearest…

- excerpt by Yayoi Kusama, Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears
which accompanies Kusama’s I Who Have Arrived in Heaven exhibition now on view at David Zwirner Gallery. 

Read the entire poem here. 

Shining Stars in Pursuit of the Truth.

This weekend I attended the Whitney’s Yayoi Kusama Retrospective. This retrospective originated at the Tate Modern and I was lucky enough to attend it back in the Spring.  Though both of these museums began their retrospectives on the same terms, they executed the exhibition wildly different. They varied in painting selection, space allotted for her video works and size of installation. Whose did I prefer? It is tough to say. I think the Tate Modern completely submerged its patrons in the life of Kusama, from it’s Obliteration Room, where patrons could obliterate a stark white room with thousands of colorful stickers of circles,  to Filled with the Brilliance of Life, a (crowded) large infinity firefly room installation and I Am Here, but Nothing, a living room cast with projected glowing dots that paint even the patrons walking thru,  the Tate Modern had more transformative sensory experiences. These experiences, that invite the viewer to not just look at Kusama’s work but become apart of her maddening world, is what sets her a part in the Contemporary Art world. But just because the Tate Modern offered more of these moments, doesn’t mean the Whitney didn’t deliver. Their installation Fireflies on the Water  gives a rare opportunity for a person at an art museum, it allows them a complete minute of complete solitude and reflection with a stunning art piece.

I arrived to the Whitney at exactly 1pm, right as doors opened. However the hype and excitement of Kusama’s retrospective has definitely infected the city, because I had to wait an hour to get into just the doors of the museum. Once in,  I received a pass to have my minute with the fireflies, which wasn’t until 6:20. (4 and half hours later) Me and my friend debated whether it was worth it to hang around in uptown for the rest of the day just to spend exactly one minute with an art piece (Yes, they time you.) Ultimately we decided it was something we were going to do eventually anyways, so we might as well. (All wasn’t lost as we took the extra time to wander through Central park.) When we arrived back to the museum my anticipation to enter the piece was surprisingly and alarmingly high. Two people were ahead of me in line and my heart started to beat, faster and faster. Why was I so anxious? I practically lived inside the Phoenix Art Museum’s Firefly room, and though this is a little differently executed, the concept is the same. Perhaps it was the stop watch around the guards neck as she briefed the room on the rules ( how we get a minute exactly, no exceptions, no photography, stay on the platform, slide down.. four to a bench. Your time is out, hurry get in!) The giant white door opens and out walks a dazed person from a glowing room as another anxious person steps cautiously in, the door closing swiftly behind them. It was all so serious, so intense.

Finally it was my turn as the door closed behind me the commotion of the busy museum silenced and at last that familiar sense of awe, beauty and peace took over. Standing on a platform, surrounded by water in a room full of mirrors and dazzling colorful lights.. I was completely alone in a crowded city; Obliterated by brilliance. This is the beauty Kusama creates. Was it worth it? Absolutely. 

Yayoi Kusama, Fireflies on the Water, 2002 mirror, plexiglass and 150 LED lights & water

Check out Fireflies on the Water for yourself. Open at the Whitney until October 28th. Retrospective closes Sept. 30

virtual art tour


short film on Yayoi Kusama

virtual tour of her retrospective at the Tate Modern

time lapse of her Obliteration Room

Accumulation is how the  stars and the earth don’t exist alone, but rather the entire universe is made of an accumulation of the stars.- Yayoi Kusama


seeing faceless faces of foreign contempt

the halls of Hotel Notre Dame, 2012

static time at Musee d’Orsay

The tree of Christ Church College, Oxford, UK 2012

looking up at the Tate Britain, 2012

a haunted house of Oxford, UK 2012

Mauro Perucchetti, Precious One at Halcyon Gallery, London

my message for the walls outside Abbey Road Studios

Kusama’s The Obliteration Room at the Tate Modern

Hyde Park at Dusk

i leave the nest. and break the persisting consciousness of the swallowing time. and return anew.

the more i sought the truth, the brighter they shone

still traveling, here’s what I’ve been up to…


Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Chairs,  at the Centre Pompidou

Antony Gormley’s sculpture on Broad St. in Oxford. Read more.

brother at Paris laundry mat

Yayoi Kusama’s environmental room I am here, but nothing at the Tate Modern

Angela Palmer’s Ghost Forest outside the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. read more

Human Fish Tank [elevatortoeiffeltower]

Claes Oldenberg, Giant 3 way Plug Scale 2/3, at the Tate Modern

Cerith Wyn Evans Inverse Reverse Preverse at the Tate Britain

I hope the boundless love for humanity will envelop the whole world- Yayoi Kusama