Infinitely Dancing Hearts: Hirshhorn and Albright-Knox Museums Jointly Acquire Kusama ‘Infinity Room’

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, have jointly acquired Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room—My Heart Is Dancing into the Universe (2018). One of the artist’s more recent entries into her ongoing “Infinity Mirrored Room” series, the work will go on view at the Hirshhorn this spring and the Albright-Knox in 2023.

Like with other works in the series, Infinity Mirrored Room—My Heart Is Dancing into the Universe is an immerse installation in which viewers enter a built environment which engulfs them with variously colored paper lanterns that are endlessly replicated by the work’s namesake mirrors. Painted in black, these lanterns feature Kusama’s signature dots in shades of blue, red, purple, orange and yellow, marking a sleek entry into the series.

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In a statement Albright-Knox director Janne Sirén called Kusama “a trailblazer and a visionary,” adding that “this particular Room is transformational. It is emblematic of Kusama’s kinetic use of color as well as her lifelong disruption of art viewership, as she asks us to see ourselves seeing.”

[Why museums jointly acquiring major artworks has become a recent trend.]

Kusama began making her wildly popular “Infinity Mirrored Rooms” in 1965 with Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field in which a room filled with plush, irregular pillows printed in her trademark red dots were placed in a mirrored room. That iconic work, along with three other pieces by the artist, is now in the Hirshhorn’s collection. Since then, Kusama has made some 20 other similar works, which are now widely popular around the world, drawing crowds and long lines.

For decades, Kusama’s work was underknown globally, but her art became an instant hit on Instagram, in particular the Infinity Mirrored Rooms, after important showings of her work, including the Hirshhorn’s landmark 2017 traveling exhibition “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors,” which brought it 1.2 million visitors at the six institutions it made stops at.

Infinity Mirrored Room—My Heart Is Dancing into the Universe will debut at the Hirshhorn as part of “One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection,” which is organized by Betsy Johnson, an assistant curator at the museum, and which will open later this year. The Albright-Knox’s main building is currently closed for construction and renovation and will reopen later this year as the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, with the Kusama work going on view there in 2023. A different version of the same work, which is part of an edition of 3, has been on permanent display at the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas since the museum acquired it in 2019.

In a statement, Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu said, “Our forthcoming exhibition places this recent work in the context of her early painting, sculptures and groundbreaking immersive work. We are grateful to partner with the Albright-Knox to bring this work to view on the National Mall as we celebrate our reopening.”


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