All Original Art By Katie Blackstock
Musician and artist Katie Blackstock and I are always looking for opportunities to stop being such Ballard hoodrats, so of course, we COULD HARDLY WAIT to go to The Yayoi Kusama exhibit at The SAM. The show is around for the rest of the month, and since Yayoi Kusama’s iconic, kaleidoscopic fantasies were the most inspiring thing to happen to either of us in a long time, we think you’d be silly not to check it out. Advanced tickets sold-out but you can still get “day of” tickets just by showing up and trying.
Here are our top three reasons you should get your butt in gear and get to the SAM right RIGHT now!
Why you already want to go: Acid Architecture
Probably the most immediately attractive reason for going to this exhibit is to experience her mirror rooms, physically. To wonder where your body is, where the art begins and ends; to let Yayoi Kusama’s acid architecture disintegrate-you into obliteration, to give you a moment of infinity. She is a true spatial artist; expanding architecture and compressing infinity with Gordes and mirrors. The Gordes, meticulously executed phallic tubers, are reminiscent of both the grotesque and the attractive, it’s mesmerizing and perfect. And it’s not just the rooms, all of her art is spatially-wondrous.
Why you’ll actually be glad you went: Her Obsession
Yayoi Kusama is prolific beyond imagination and it is inspiring to even glimpse. She’s made art every day for over 70 years; she is champion and pioneer, in an otherwise male-dominated Asian Art world. From her dots to sewing sculptures, to more technical screen prints, to mirrors–Kusama’s craft is repetition.
She’s said that repetition is your body’s memory and from what we can tell, for her, it really is.
Obliteration (of the self) is one of the key focuses of Kusama’s work–and life. At times unable to tell the difference between where her hands’ end and the world outside begins–there doesn’t seem to be much separation between her art and herself. As a result, it is incredibly frictionless as a viewer to also obsess and obliterate; to lose your hand in the mirrors at the SAM, to be a dot within the whole of infinity.
“My desire was to predict and measure the infinity of the unbounded universe from my own position in it, with dots– an accumulation of particles forming the negative spaces in a net. How deep was the mystery? Did infinities exist beyond our universe? In exploring these questions, I wanted to examine the single dot that was my own life. One polka dot, a single particle among millions.”
REASON 3. What you probably didn’t see coming: Collective Hope
Kusama began panicking because the dots were everywhere and she couldn’t tell what was real and what was art anymore- Anatomically, she was obliterating. When she first realized she was having hallucinations, she checked herself in and has stayed there ever since.
In the 1960’s she once said, “An anatomic explosion is better than an atomic explosion” in response to her nude (still covered in dots, tho) protests, held at the Brooklyn Bridge every Sunday. It was there that she repeatedly practiced her most driving belief: through protest we are a community. Her main hope is for the collective hope and love forever, and by witnessing her art, it is all clear; that your justice and your freedom, is wrapped up in mine.
When Blackstock and I went to the exhibit only a few dots were carefully placed in the Obliteration Room–and now in its last month in Seattle, as a fully-covered space, the experience is similar, I’m sure: receive six dots to place wherever you want, carefully consider your position, your own obsession, your own obliteration and of course, infinity. You’re one of 10,000 dots, and every dot, another hope.
Go here to learn more about day of tickets. Don’t miss out!