Mariah Tyler and David Kukin/Travel+Leisure

Yayoi Kasuma's new world is a message of Peace & Love.

Mariah Tyler
November 02, 2017

Yayoi Kusama is arguably the most popular living artist of our time. Her name may not ring a bell at first — but the astonishing visuals she creates are immediately recognizable (and likely found right on your Instagram feed).

On Thursday, the David Zwirner gallery in New York City, is opening two major concurrent exhibitions of the world’s favorite artist. The shows will run through Dec. 16, 2017, so put it on the itinerary for your next New York City trip.

The best part is that the exhibitions are free and open to the public. But a word of warning: These will draw huge numbers of people, as Kusama’s art holds a record for unprecedented crowds around the world (some ending with broken artwork).

Festival of Life is a four-room mixed exhibit of her paintings from the My Eternal Soul series, fiberglass flower sculptures, the iconic polka-dotted environment and two selfie-obsessed Infinity Mirror Rooms in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

Kusama has been making paintings since the 1950s and most recently this series in the 2000s. It is mesmerizing to view them side-by-side in larger than life scale around an entire room as giant polka-dotted flowers lay in the center.

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In another room down the hall is With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever (2011), a floor to ceiling white room with repetitive large red dots and camouflaged towering pots of tulips. This is the first time this work has been on view in the United States.

The last area of the gallery is the debut of two unforgettable experiential Infinity Mirror Rooms. You may find yourself waiting in line for the large mirrored room behind a closed door that, upon entry, you wander around a box of large mirrored balls in the center a column of a more intimate view of a similar smaller version of the room. It goes on forever.

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Outside of this boxed space is an awe-inspiring, colorful light display of a hexagonal pattern viewed from within three small peepholes.

Uptown, at the Upper East Side location of David Zwirner, is Infinity Nets, a showing of her series of paintings made in the 1950s. If you happen to miss these gallery shows, her famous works are on tour around the U.S. right now.

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Prepare for a wave of joy as you view her work — and remember to let yourself experience the happiness before snapping a selfie and sharing with the world. For the first time, David Zwirner has included official hashtags in the opening wall text, and maybe even the new normal for gallery art exhibitions. Be sure to use: #FestivalofLife and #YayoiKusama. 

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