ARTS & CULTURE

New Yorkers Flock To Yayoi Kusama's New, Bespeckled 'Infinity Rooms'

11/18/2013 08:24 am ET

Things we loved about MoMA's Rain Room, the art installation that swept New York City earlier this year: the way the ethereal space mimicked the natural world, how it mixed the beauty of natural resources with the wonder of technology, and its ability to attract even the most amateur of art lovers to the inside of a museum.

Things we hated about MoMA's Rain Room: the six-hour long lines that formed outside the exhibit, how its "viral" status tended to overshadow the rest of EXPO: 1 New York, and the way it slowly transformed from an art show to the perfect Instagram backdrop.

So, do we want Yayoi Kusama's current NYC artworks, two versions of her very popular "Infinity Rooms," to turn into Rain Room, part deaux?

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama's 'I Who Have Arrived In Heaven' Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

Queues have already been forming inside of David Zwirner gallery, where admirers are attempting to get into "Infinity Mirrored Room -- The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away" and "Love Is Calling." The first is an isolated space occupied by reflective surfaces and twinkling lights, reminiscent of The Whitney's previous Kusama-centric installation, "Fireflies on the Water." The other is a room covered in spotted, tentacled sculptures and filled with Kusama's voice echoing through the whimsical ecosystem.

Visitors are only allowed around 40 seconds in each of the chambers, which is a brief foray compared to the limitless time onlookers were given to gaze at MoMA's rain storm. According to The Wall Street Journal, docents are urging those in line for the "Infinity Rooms" to wait patiently inside the gallery, but away from the other 27 paintings on display in "I Who Have Arrived in Heaven."

"We're not going to ask people to stand outside in the rain," said Hanna Schouwink, a gallery partner who worked on the exhibition. "I hope it's not going to get too cold, because we'll be in trouble here."

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama's 'I Who Have Arrived In Heaven' Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

On the one hand, we strive to be champions of democratized art. In our opinion, the more accessible and available an art project, the better, so we're happy to see bustling crowds flock to Kusama's artworks. During a press preview for the exhibition, Kusama herself beseeched journalists and art admirers to bring as many eyes to her work as possible.

"I would like to work with you together to make that happen, to deliver the joy of the art and love and peace to people who are suffering and don’t have the opportunity to enjoy the joy of the art," she stated.

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama's 'I Who Have Arrived In Heaven' Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

But on the other hand, it's difficult to consider the throngs of people waiting to ponder infinity, merely loitering around the dotted universe Kusama creates with her painted masterpieces. Her canvases show off a multitude of eyeballs, polka dots and lines exploding before your eyes in a flurry of neon colors; frenetic visions that Kusama rather ambitiously intends as purveyors of world peace, universal happiness and solidarity.

If you're a longtime fan of Kusama's polka-dotted point of view, you'll want to head to Chelsea before Rain Room-esque madness descends upon us all. Paintings like "Praying for Peace in the World" and "A Woman With Pink Hair" are populated by new and ever-fantastical characters that evoke heightened levels of joy. The 84-year-old artist, on leave from the Japanese psychiatric hospital she calls home, has admitted that death is merely around the corner. But even the video piece, "Manhattan Suicide Addict," a massive mirror-flanked moving image of the artist singing about her experience dealing with depression, seems to arouse feelings of pure resilience and encompassing love.

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama's 'I Who Have Arrived In Heaven' Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

"I Who Have Arrived In Heaven" will be on view until December 21, 2013. Check out more images from the show below and let us know your thoughts on the already popular installations and noteworthy paintings in the comments.

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama's 'I Who Have Arrived In Heaven' Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama's 'I Who Have Arrived In Heaven' Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama's 'I Who Have Arrived In Heaven' Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama's 'I Who Have Arrived In Heaven' Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama's 'I Who Have Arrived In Heaven' Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama's 'I Who Have Arrived In Heaven' Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

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