One of the world’s top galleries is less than a month away from presenting one the New York art season’s most anticipated events. Expect lines to form and Instagrams to fly.
On November 9, David Zwirner in New York will stage a Yayoi Kusama exhibition with around 60 works, including paintings, sculptures, an installation, and what’s sure to be its crown jewel: a brand-new “Infinity Mirror Room.”
Zwirner last mounted a solo exhibition of Kusama’s work in New York in November 2017 at its West 20th Street location in Chelsea, and that show broke the gallery’s attendance records, bringing in 75,000 people and generating hours-long queues to see various “Infinity Mirror Rooms.” For its new Kusama exhibition, titled “EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE,” David Zwirner is expecting even more visitors—perhaps well over 100,000 of them.
“Every time Kusama has a show, whether it’s in a museum or a gallery, attendance grows,” Hanna Schouwink, a senior partner at the gallery who works with Kusama, told ARTnews. “The interest in her work continues to grow. People always think, ‘If I come Tuesday, there won’t be lines.’ For sure, there will always be lines.”
The new exhibition has been in the works almost exactly since the 2017 exhibition closed, and it presents pieces made in the intervening two years. There will be works from her ongoing “My Eternal Soul” series—square canvases that include abstractions and figurative compositions, many of them bearing poetic titles.
“It’s very difficult to add to the language of painting; it’s a challenging proposition,” Schouwink said. “Kusama’s somehow found a way to do that. She’s been making work for seven decades, but the work is evolving constantly. It’s a language that’s becoming more sophisticated.”
Another major component of the exhibition will be a new sculptural installation comprised of dozens of stainless-steel cloud-like objects that will together form one piece. When complete, it will be similar to Kusama’s Narcissus Garden, which MoMA PS1 organized in the Rockaways in July 2018. Whereas the metallic baubles of Narcissus Garden were all identical in size, the ones in the new piece will be eight inches tall and range from 15 to 80 inches long.
“I envision it as a field of sculptures that together constitutes one piece,” Schouwink said. “It’s something that will really envelope the viewer; you’ll become a part of the piece, which is exactly the sensation you have when you enter an Infinity Room.”
But perhaps what looks to be the most buzzed about—and Instagrammed—part of the show is that new Infinity Room, titled INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE, which will be 9½ feet tall and 13½ feet wide and deep. As with past presentations of Kusama’s Infinity Rooms, time limits will be enforced per visitor. While Schouwink couldn’t provide too many details about the work, she said it will feature LED lights and “will be very different from anything you’ve seen before”—minimal, she explained, in comparison to some of the series’ more well-known entries.
When it comes to educational outreach, the Kusama outing is something new for David Zwirner. Like other galleries in Chelsea, Zwirner is closed on Sundays and Mondays to the public, and though that practice will continue for this exhibition, which runs until December 14, the gallery has also established a special program to allow school groups to visit on Mondays that are pre-arranged by a dedicated staff member at the gallery.
Describing what visitors could expect from this new work, Schouwink said, “You feel this urgency in her work. This is someone who is working with a huge amount of conviction, passion, and dedication. This is what she does. She’s making her art.”