I enjoy art exhibits. I’m not a person who’s likely to be found browsing the latest hot spot on the weekend, but about once a year I’ll be at a museum or gallery, enjoying some time with visual mediums.
On these trips, the last thing I want to do is be rushed. It may only take me twenty minutes, strolling through dozens of pieces, or I may stand in front of one for a half hour. If it’s art done well, it’s meant to be personal.
The time limit was what raised a flag for me when my wife wanted to attend a Yayoi Kusama exhibition in 2018. Guests were allowed to examine Kusama’s work for a total of 45 seconds, that was all. Afterward, they were expected to leave.
We went. We stood in line. Then, when it was our turn, we entered the small room which had been constructed to show her art. It consisted of a rectangular area with a walkway through it, the floor of which was covered with polka-dotted, illuminated pumpkins. Lots of pumpkins. Infinite pumpkins.
I know “infinite” sounds like an exaggeration, and it is; no matter how well polished and constructed, a mirror loses some light every time it reflects an image. Nevertheless, as those who have been to barber shops and hair salons know, when two mirrors are held opposite each other, an image can seem to be reflected in a dwindling series of reflections. This was the way Kusama’s art was constructed, with mirrors on all surfaces designed to cast images of pumpkins in all directions.
If this seems curious… here is a video for you. It’s full of art world information, and it also includes images of the pumpkins display.
The gushing praise in the video and their examination of the deeper meanings behind her motifs… the infinite realized as a circle and the repetition of polka dots, that sort of thing… naturally led me to wonder what was the meaning behind her pumpkin display.
I found the answer in multiple interviews with the artist, and it’s fairly simple: she really likes pumpkins. That’s pretty much it.
When you’re a world-famous artist, you can do things you personally enjoy and people will do all the work in trying to discern deeper meaning from it.
Question of the night: What pumpkin-flavored foods do you like?