There’s never a bad time for curiosity, playfulness, or wonder. Now, art lovers in our nation’s capital can get a concentrated dose of all three in Yayoi Kusama’s world-famous "Infinity Mirrors" exhibition, opening this weekend at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Yayoi Kusama with recent works in Tokyo, 2016. Photo by Tomoaki Makino, courtesy of the artist © Yayoi Kusama
The 87-year-old Japanese artist and her glittering mirrored rooms have been smashing museum attendance records around the world. The new exhibition is the largest collection of her work to date and features six different infinity rooms and 60 other installations, sculptures, and paintings.
The Obliteration Room, 2002 to present. Photograph: QAGOMA Photography, © Yayoi Kusama
This exhibition also marks the first time the installations have been made accessible for people with limited mobility. Entrances to the infinity rooms are too narrow to accommodate wheelchairs, so Hirshhorn staff worked with Samsung to create an immersive virtual-reality version, which will only be available to museum visitors with disabilities.
Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York. © Yayoi Kusama
Kusama, an occasional wheelchair user herself, is enthusiastic about the VR addition, and museum staff liked the new app so much that they’re considering repeating the process for other exhibitions in the future.
Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013.Courtesy of David Zwirner, N.Y. © Yayoi Kusama
“It forces you to simply be, to look, to experience something that’s immersive and to be fully immersed,” museum director Melissa Chiu told Artsy. “That is a very unique experience today for people; there are very few moments where you can feel alone in the cosmos, and that’s how Kusama designed it.”