Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Yayoi Kusama @ The Glass House

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Meeting Point for the Glass House Tours--A shuttle brings you to the discreet destination

Thumbing through the September Issue of Harper's Bazaar, an exquisite editorial featuring Catherine McNeil in Kusama's Garden consciously cascades a style statement from the estate of esteemed architect Phillip Johnson (New Canaan, Connecticut). Accenting red polka dots, a posed precision of seemingly weightless metal balls and multi-thousand dollar dresses enliven the landscape installation honoring the 110th Anniversary of Johnson's birth and the 10th anniversary of public access to the 49-acre Glass House site. Keep reading to see more...  

Red Vinyl circles transform the Phillip Johnson's Glass House (1949) into Yayoi Kusama's Dots Obsession -- Alive, Seeking or Eternal Hope

Suffering from hallucinations and obsessive-compulsive disorder, artist Yayoi Kusama lives voluntarily in a psychiatric hospital (over 39 years now). She travels to her studio daily, furthering a legacy of strategically set dots and spots. Narcissus Garden, first installed 30 years ago (1966) for the 33rd Venice Biennale joins Pumpkin (2015) and Infinity Room (2016) at New Canaan's Glass House until November 30th. The installation spans multiple spaces including the newly restored Pond in the Lower Meadow and Forest, the Glass House overlooking the Pond and the concrete sculpture footing--where Ellsworth Kelly's Curve II was once installed--on the hillside meadow. Consumed with curiosity, I partake in the press preview; here's my delayed posting. 
Inside the "Infinity Room"

"Polka Dots are my means to deliver the message of Love Forever to the world. They are about the universe, human beings and living things. The sun, the moon, the earth, and stars are polka dots. They cannot exist alone. Each and every one of us is a polka dot. We weave a beautiful pattern of polka dots. I have the deepest love and awe toward them."
--Yayoi Kusama

 Dots multiply on shiny surfaces!

As a limited-time installation, Dots Obsession -- Alive, Seeking for Eteral Hope transforms the glass house into an "infinity room" (Sept. 1-26). Pervasive Red vinyl dots on the Glass House exterior engulf visitors and engage the architecture, playfully casting shadows and enabling a multi-faceted, multi dimensional illustration of 'infinite' circles from every angle. For Kusama, the dots represent an individual within an infinite universe, complementing Johnson's view of his estate and the design that molds it into his own private universe.

 Double the dots, depending on the angle!

Tranquility sets the scene for narcissism. Looking out the front door of the Glass House, a reflective Pumpkin imposes itself in the meadow. Seemingly solid and spotted, a close up reveals a hollow red interior through laser cut holes. From the back of the house, a gaze downhill lands on the Pond Pavilion and an enclosed body of water. Deceptive to the untrained eye, the Pavilion is shorter in height than one would expect. Loose in the water, 1,300 floating spheres reflect nature, at times moving with the current, creating a kinetic beat.  

Look outside--A pumpkin!

While the Glass house may have recovered from a monthlong bout of measles, the Pumpkin and Narcissism installations remain until November 30th. To be honest, the whole estate is quite impressive and absolutely worth the trip. If you have the time, click here to book a tour.

 Dots on house +  hollow spots on PUMPKIN (2015)

A pond, a pavilion and a view of the Narcissus Garden

 One of 1,300 Sterling Silver balls

Drifting in the Lower Meadow--the spheres move with the wind and create unique sound patterns

Pavillon in the pond--it's much smaller/lower than you would imagine

"Your Narcissism for sale"

One scene from the Harper's Bazaar spreads [source]

Bazaar spread featuring Catherine McNeil [source]

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