San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) presents Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love, the first opportunity for audiences to experience Yayoi Kusama’s famed Infinity Mirror Rooms in the Bay Area. Yayoi Kusama’s irresistible psychedelic art installations invite viewers to step into dazzling mirrored spaces that convey a feeling of unlimited potential and possibility. Opening to the public on October 14, 2023, Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love is the artist’s first solo museum presentation in Northern California and will feature two Infinity Mirror Rooms.
For many audiences, this will be the first chance to see Kusama’s latest work, Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love (2023), following its acclaimed debut in New York at David Zwirner gallery. SFMOMA will include a second Infinity Mirror Room in the presentation: LOVE IS CALLING, one of the largest and most immersive of such installations by the artist to date.
In addition, SFMOMA will exhibit Kusama’s monumental sculpture Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love, the Love in My Heart (2023), in which the artist pushes the polka-dotted pumpkin to new extremes.
Kusama has stated, on the occasion of this presentation:
Enter the place of colors
Polka dots let in the sunlight of the earth
The heart Is filled with the shining light of the sun
All of the people who enter seeking the joy of being alive
Let there be eternal harmony among all in the circles and cycles of living
Peace and endless love for all
— Yayoi Kusama, 2023
“Yayoi Kusama’s captivating Infinity Mirror Rooms offer a tremendous opportunity for viewers to connect with the artwork and with each other,” Christopher Bedford, the Helen and Charles Schwab Director at SFMOMA, said. “We are thrilled that Kusama’s new immersive artwork will have its West Coast premiere at SFMOMA, exciting and inspiring new audiences and longtime fans alike.”
Admission is free for SFMOMA members and tickets for extended member preview days are available for reservation on September 5. Tickets for the general public go on sale September 12.
About the Exhibition
Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love features two of the artist’s latest astonishing Infinity Mirror Rooms: room-sized, experiential artworks that transport viewers into dreamlike universes of seemingly endless reflections. Distinctly recognizable, Kusama’s fascinating Infinity Mirror Rooms surround the viewer with surfaces that reflect a repetition of shapes—such as colorful polka dots, circles and spheres—together with fragments of one’s own reflection. The mirrored walls of the rooms may create a sense of existing in multiple locations across an infinite universe.
This presentation offers visitors the unique opportunity to see two works by Kusama—made one decade apart—that epitomize the artist’s diverse interests in light, space, sculpture and poetry.
Kusama’s Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love (2023), welcomes the viewer into a universe of multicolored light. At first, the exterior of this sculptural work blends into the gallery’s all-white surroundings, punctuated by an array of large transparent acrylic dots, including a quadrant—or quarter-dot—door at one corner for visitors to enter. In the interior, bright ambient light filters through the colored windows to create a luminous, kaleidoscopic pattern of overlapping circles. As visitors turn around in the space, the mirrored surfaces create an environment that is constantly in flux.
One of the largest and the most immersive of Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms, LOVE IS CALLING (2013) welcomes visitors into a darkened, mirrored room illuminated by inflatable forms that extend from the floor and ceiling, gradually changing colors. LOVE IS CALLING incorporates the artist’s signature visual vocabulary that plays with the illusion of space: repeated forms, soft sculptures with bright colors and polka dots and reflective surfaces.
As visitors walk through the installation, an audio recording of Kusama reciting a love poem in Japanese plays continuously. Written by the artist, the poem’s title translates to “Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears.” Exploring enduring themes including life and death, the poem poignantly expresses Kusama’s hope to spread a universal message of love through her art.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love exemplifies SFMOMA’s commitment to presenting the work of Asian and AAPI artists, including the first retrospective of Pacita Abad this fall, a gallery of paintings and drawings by Hung Liu and current and upcoming group exhibitions featuring key works from the museum’s collection by Japanese artists Yoko Ono, Tatsuo Miyajima, Rakuko Naito, Tadaaki Kuwayama and Takashi Arai, among others. SFMOMA is also recognized for its significant collection of Japanese photography.
Yayoi Kusama: Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love, the Love in My Heart
Opening Mid-September 2023 as a complement to Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love on Floor 6, SFMOMA will exhibit the artist’s monumental sculpture Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love, the Love in My Heart (2023) on Floor 5. This presentation of one of Kusama’s recent large-scale pumpkin sculptures will be included in general museum admission and will not require timed tickets.
Extending over 18 feet in length and more than 11 feet in height, the undulating form of this bronze sculpture winds through the space, enveloping visitors in its curving walls. Painted yellow, Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love is covered in Kusama’s signature polka dots repeated in a pattern that exaggerates the convex and concave gourd-like shapes.
Kusama has said: “Pumpkins have been a great comfort to me since my childhood; they speak to me of the joy of living. They are humble and amusing at the same time, and I have and always will celebrate them in my art.”
Images of pumpkins can be found in her work since the 1940s, but began appearing more broadly beginning in the 1980s, as in such important works as Kusama’s open-air sculpture Pumpkin, installed on Naoshima Island, Japan, in 1994.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity. When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment.
— Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama is one of the world’s most iconic and celebrated artists working today. With connections to Pop Art, Minimalism, psychedelia and popular culture, Kusama’s multidisciplinary career transcends categories as the artist continues to innovate over a career spanning more than 70 years. Kusama’s artistic practice encompasses paintings, sculpture, installations, works on paper, performances, films, fashion, design and literary works. Her work across this wide breadth of media alludes to both microscopic and macroscopic universes.
Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Kusama began her artistic education at the Kyoto City Senior High School of Art. Early in her artistic career, she had several solo exhibitions in Japan before moving to New York in 1958. She developed a style that embraced repetitive mark-making and organic patterns and forms on canvas, expanding to environmental creations after 1962.
In the mid-1960s in New York, she established herself as a pioneering avant-garde artist by staging groundbreaking performances, events and exhibitions. She moved back to Japan in 1973 where she lives and works in Tokyo. Her work gained renewed widespread recognition in the late 1980s following several notable international solo exhibitions.
She created her first mirrored environment in 1965, her first darkened Infinity Mirror Room in 2000, and has since constructed over 20 such installations that have become audience favorites worldwide. In 1993, Kusama represented Japan at the 45th Venice Biennale, receiving much critical acclaim, and she began to create open-air sculptures in 1994.
HOURS + ADMISSION
Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Fridays through Tuesdays and 1–8 p.m. on Thursdays (closed Wednesdays). Current visitor information can be found at sfmoma.org/visit.
SFMOMA members enjoy free admission to Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love. Members may reserve timed tickets beginning September 5 at tickets.sfmoma.org and will also have first access to subsequent releases of tickets throughout the run of the exhibition. Visit sfmoma.org/membership for more information.
For nonmembers, timed tickets for Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love beginning October 14 will go on sale September 12 at tickets.sfmoma.org. The special exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love has a $10 surcharge for all nonmembers aged 19 and older.
Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love, the Love in My Heart (2023) is located on Floor 5 and is included in general museum admission without timed entry.
Following the presentation’s opening day on October 14, SFMOMA will offer a number of Free Days for Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love, including First Thursdays, Free Family Days and Free Community Days. During First Thursdays beginning in November, there will be a limited number of tickets available to Bay Area residents for free admission to Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love with advanced reservation. On Free Family Days, general admission to the museum is free for up to four adults accompanying one child or teen (18 and younger).
Tickets for Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love during Free Days must be booked in advance. Only a limited number of tickets will be available on site. More details available at sfmoma.org/free-days. For information about other free and discounted admission programs, visit sfmoma.org/deals-discounts.