Review: At Seattle Art Museum, ‘Infinity Mirrors’ is spectacular, surreal — and, yes, reflective

Critic Gayle Clemans writes of Yayoi Kusama that “Her work is cathartic and concrete, universal and specific, infinitely appealing and intimately personal.” Her terrific show “Infinity Mirrors” is at Seattle Art Museum June 30-Sept. 10.

I have great news for those who have been eagerly awaiting the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Seattle Art Museum (and there are a lot of us; advance ticket sales have completely sold out).

The show is as good as we’d hoped. Maybe even better.

“Infinity Mirrors” surveys the art of Kusama, the 88-year-old Japanese avant-garde artist who has been in and out of the spotlight for over six decades. As the title suggests, and at the request of the artist, the exhibition focuses on Kusama’s mirrored installations, rooms you can enter or peek into, and find yourself be surrounded by giant polka-dot balloons or glowing yellow pumpkins or thousands of reflections of hovering lanterns.

EXHIBITION REVIEW

‘Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors’

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursdays, and beginning July 7, 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Exhibition runs June 30-Sept. 10, Seattle Art Museum; advance tickets are sold out but a limited number of tickets will be available at SAM each day of the exhibition for same-day entry starting June 30. (206-654-3100 or seattleartmuseum.org).

So, yes, the spectacular experiences are there. And so much more.

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There are surrealistic paintings from the 1950s, soft sculptures from the 1960s, Joseph Cornell-inspired collages from the 1970s, very recent work, and documentary photos and ephemera, all of which gloriously establish Kusama’s unique place in contemporary art history. (The exhibition drew record crowds earlier this year at Washington, D.C.’s Hirshhorn Museum.)

In an era when the spectacle is both craved and critiqued, Kusama’s art engages us in immediate, bodily, sensory…

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