Here in Cleveland, it is the final week of Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The city has been so fortunate to have this amazing experience over the last three months:
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors celebrates the legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s 65-year career. The exhibition spans the range of Kusama’s work, from her groundbreaking paintings and performances of the 1960s, when she staged polka-dot “Happenings” in the streets of New York, to her widely admired immersive installations and the U.S. debut of her recent series of paintings, My Eternal Soul. Visitors have the unprecedented opportunity to experience seven of Kusama’s captivating Infinity Mirror Rooms, including Where the Lights in My Heart Go (2016), exclusive to Cleveland. Additionally, a stunning array of large and vibrant paintings, sculptures, installations, works on paper and rare archival materials can also be seen. Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors is on view in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Hall and Gallery, and in the Ames Family Atrium, July 7 through September 30, 2018. The Cleveland Museum of Art is the only Midwest venue for Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors and one of only five U.S. venues to present this exhibition. ~Cleveland Museum of Art
I first experienced one of Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors Room when I was in Los Angeles a couple of years ago and waited for hours at The Broad Museum (who had a special Twitter feed just to update visitors about wait times!). The wait was well worth the 30 second experience of their singler room! I was so excited to learn last year that Cleveland would become a temporary home to 7 of Kusama’s installations this summer and knew it needed to go on my 2018 artist date list. 🙂 I am grateful that I was able to see the exhibition twice: first, during it’s debut week before the show opened to the public and then I returned earlier this month for a second viewing. Each experience was amazing!
It has also been fun to see friends, students, colleagues, and the greater Cleveland community engage with this exhibit on social media through sharing video, photos, blog posts, news, and more. Such excitement and enthusiasm surrounding getting tickets, attending and sharing the experience with others. With the exhibit closing this week, I wanted to share some of my reflections and memories of the exhibit here in Cleveland:
Top 8 Loves About Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors
- Polka Dots: From the trees outside of the museum, to inside the lobby, and throughout the exhibit in not only Kusama’s immersive room environments, but also the collection of paintings, sculptures, collages, photographs, and other creative works created over Kusama’s career. Learn more about Kusama’s interest in polka dots here. My favorite polka dot experience was in and around the installation for “ .
- Light: What my attention was most immersed in when stepping to many of the Infinity Mirrors Rooms was being surround by light everywhere and this endless presence…. above, below, and all around.
- Social Media– The phenomena of social media has been an incredible element of Kusama’s work reaching more and more people and more and more people wanting to see it. Myself included! This article speaks to Art in the Instagram Age and how social media is shaping our experience with art.
- Stickers– Kusama’s Obliteration Room was by far my very favorite. We took photos of the room’s entrance when we first visited the space during the exhibit’s first week in July and then another photo in early in September. Think of all the people who came through this space over the last three months and left their mark with the sticker sheets we were each given! I think it visually shows us how overwhelmingly powerful our collective presence can be, including obliterating what was once easily visible around us. Take a look Inside The Obliteration Room at the Cleveland Museum of Art here.
- Color– There was certainly no lack of color in Kusama’s work- which was vividly expressed through so many patterns, textures, design, and forms.
- Love Forever Infinity Mirror Room– This installation was not one of the rooms we were able to walk in and out of, but instead invited us to take our time peering through a square cut out box that revealed our reflection among a field of mirrors and lights. Definitely one of my top experiences!
- Joy– There was such a strong feeling and community of excitement among the visitors attending the exhibit- in person and online. Most of the Infinity Mirror Rooms offered a private, intimate, and immersed moment in time, but for me it could also be felt beyond those reflected walls of mirrors and light.
- Kusama’s Creative Spirit — The life and story behind Yayoi Kusama‘s career as an artist and how her art has been a life affirming force and refuge to express her experiences, fears, hopes, and curiosities. As an art therapist, I appreciate how Kusama has found safety, acceptance, and life in her art — not just for others to experience or post on social media, but as a daily creative practice for herself.
Coming this fall…..
As part of the 2018 Expressive Therapies Summit in New York City, Social Media, The Arts, and Community Engaged Projects (October 12, 7-9 pm) explores the power of the arts and how creative, interactive community based projects using social media can motivate positive change, hope, and well being. Public projects inspired by abandonment art, random acts of kindness, and other creative deeds not only motivate art making, enhance emotional development, and support compassionate acts, but also offer meaningful opportunities to connect and positively influence others that their art comes into contact with, both on and offline. As a result, this inspiration has the possibility to keep spreading its creative message from person to person. Participants will be introduced to art-based projects and experience how-to ideas for implementing this kind of creative chain reaction for use in treatment with clients and ways to facilitate this approach within a therapeutic context for individuals, groups, or communities. Registration is now open here.
Social Media and Art Therapists: Exploring Our Digital Footprint and Presence Online (November 3, 10:15-11:45 am) will be offered at the 2018 American Art Therapy Association Conference in Miami, Florida. This workshop invites art therapists to consider and reflect upon the impact of our digital footprint and its influence. Through didactic presentation, experiential art-making, and group discussion attendees will be encouraged to explore topics that foster an awareness about creating a digital presence online that aligns with ones goals, passions, values, and career interests. Pre-registration required and space availability is limited. Advanced registration is open online until 9/28 via http://www.arttherapyconference.com
Also being included this fall as part of Southwestern College’s Masters in Art Therapy/Counseling Professional Ethics Course and the college’s Masters in Art Therapy for Clinical Professionals, will be an online webinar/guest lecture for students about Social Media and E-Professionalism Considerations for Art Therapists. This 30 minute webinar presents how art therapists can create a strong professional digital presence through the use of social media. Topics explored include:
- Digital ecosystems
- Online disinhibition effect
- The art of creating a professional digital presence
- Digital footprint considerations
If you are interested in learning more about how to incorporate this webinar or guest lecture into any of your art therapy coursework, please submit an information request here.