Inside Yayoi Kusama's New Exhibit, 'Give Me Love'
New York’s most popular open house this weekend was in Chelsea, where a line stretched down the block Saturday morning for Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's newest exhibition, "Give Me Love," at the David Zwirner gallery.
The scene inside the vast garage-like gallery space resembled an (albeit very hip) children's birthday party, as toddlers and adults alike wandered Ms. Kusama's large-scale model of a suburban home with sheets of bright polka-dot stickers. The installation, called "The Obliteration Room," premiered in 2002 and comes complete with an American flag and plastic lawn furniture out front.
Crowds are standard at the artist's blockbuster exhibitions. In a study of museum attendance released in April, the Art Newspaper named Ms. Kusama one of the most popular artists of last year. Touring shows through Asia and South and Central America drew crowds in the thousands. Her touring retrospective, "Infinite Obsession," which features more than a hundred works and is currently on view in Santiago, Chile, has been seen by over two million people, according to the study.
She’s no less popular in New York. Her 2013 show at David Zwirner, "I Who Have Arrived in Heaven," drew close to 2,500 people per day, with wait times of up to eight hours, said the gallery. The show featured two popular mirrored "Infinity Rooms," where visitors would line up to snap an otherworldly selfie they could then share on social media.
The gallery is hoping for more of the same with "Give Me Love." Inside the yellow house (No. 9393), visitors were invited to apply polka-dot stickers to the completely whitewashed furniture. Blank picture frames, a neatly-set table, and a dog bed—all white—sported clusters of bright polka-dots applied by the over 1,300 visitors on Saturday. Polka-dots peppered the leaves of a houseplant, the spines of books on a shelf, the keys of a laptop computer and magnets on a refrigerator. Several visitors walked out with a souvenir polka-dot or two on their person as well.
Along with "The Obliteration Room" installation, the show features 17 colorful new paintings from the artist’s "My Eternal Soul" series, and several large-scale pumpkin sculptures. The stainless steel pumpkins are enormous—up to 70 inches high—and feature mirrored surfaces and (you guessed it) polka-dots.
The show will be on display at David Zwirner's 19th Street galleries until June 13.