Artists spend whole lifetimes turning their inner visions into real life; Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama goes one step further, inviting visitors to literally walk around her imagination. Kusama, 87, has been at the forefront of the modern art world for more than a half-century. Known for her ubiquitous polka dots and surreal visions of everyday life, she debuted her first Infinity Room in 1965, blurring the line between viewer and art.
“Kusama’s Infinity Rooms are completely immersive,” says Michael Tomor, executive director of the Tampa Museum of Art. “When you walk into the installation, you are immediately transported into an experience so completely different from the familiarity of your daily life that you can leave what occupies your world for a moment in time.”
For the first time ever, a Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room will be on display in Florida this fall. “Love is Calling,” on loan from the Vinik Family Foundation — a nonprofit managed by Jeff and Penny Vinik — will be installed at the Tampa Museum of Art as part of its autumn “Season of Love” exhibition series. As guests walk through a mirror-encrusted cavern of soft, inflated, undulating tentacles mounted like stalactites and stalagmites, an audio recording of Kusama reading her poem on mortality, entitled “Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears,” plays on a calming, nearly hypnotic loop.
“This exhibition mirrors our mission to bring to the community iconic and important works of art to inspire residents and visitors,” says Tomor. “‘Love is Calling’ is a remarkable illustration of what the Tampa Museum of Art can accomplish when we work together with the community, generous lenders, philanthropists and remarkably talented artists and staff.”
On view from September 28, 2018 through February 14, 2019.
Tampa Museum of Art
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