Blown Away...By Kusama

Two weeks ago in Washington, D.C., thanks to a good friend, I got tickets to the sold-out Kusama exhibit at the Hirschhorn Museum. I'm back home in Southern California, but Kusama's powerfully seductive colorful images linger and beckon.  Last night when I couldn't sleep (again), I wandered downstairs, sipped hot tea and looked through the pages of her book Give Me Love.  I wish everyone could read her introduction where this artist writes...And I want to tell people across the earth: Stop nuclear bombs and wars, now see your shining life With my longing for eternity. Having lived in a psychiatric institute for some 40 plus years, Kusama speaks freely about abusive childhood, her mental illness, and her suicide-prone life.  After I googled her and learned that her art explodes from the depths of her mental illness, this new understanding couldn't help but color how I felt about The Obliteration Room, for example.

Two weeks ago in Washington, D.C., thanks to a good friend, I got tickets to the sold-out Kusama exhibit at the Hirschhorn Museum.

I'm back home in Southern California, but Kusama's powerfully seductive colorful images linger and beckon.  Last night when I couldn't sleep (again), I wandered downstairs, sipped hot tea and looked through the pages of her book Give Me Love.  I wish everyone could read her introduction where this artist writes...And I want to tell people across the earth: Stop nuclear bombs and wars, now see your shining life With my longing for eternity.

Having lived in a psychiatric institute for some 40 plus years, Kusama speaks freely about abusive childhood, her mental illness, and her suicide-prone life.  After I googled her and learned that her art explodes from the depths of her mental illness, this new understanding couldn't help but color how I felt about The Obliteration Room, for example.

At the Hirschhorn Museum, we were each handed a small sheet of colorful stickers to apply wherever we wanted to what had once been an all-white room. It felt playful, happy, colorful, and participatory.   We were  helping the artist "obliterate" the white room.  I mean, when is any museum-goer ever asked to add their two cents, or colorful stickers, in this instance?  Most of the time we're told, Do Not Touch The Objects.  But here we were enthusiastically encouraged to slap on our stickers wherever we wanted.  It was fun.  And Ed even sat down and played at the colorful Kusama piano.  But after I learned that Kusama's mental illness had led her to want to be obliterated, to obliterate herself, my reaction to this exhibit is more complex and nuanced.  And I suspect yours would be, too.

Infinity Mirrors at the same exhibit.  So mesmerizing I didn't want to leave after the guard told me my 20 seconds in the room was up.