CLOSE
Original image
Infinity Mirrored Room – Love Forever, 1966/1994. Photo by Cathy Carver.

Lose Yourself in Artist Yayoi Kusama’s 'Infinity Mirrors'

Original image
Infinity Mirrored Room – Love Forever, 1966/1994. Photo by Cathy Carver.

There’s never a bad time for curiosity, playfulness, or wonder. Now, art lovers in our nation’s capital can get a concentrated dose of all three in Yayoi Kusama’s world-famous "Infinity Mirrors" exhibition, opening this weekend at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. 

Yayoi Kusama with recent works in Tokyo, 2016. Photo by Tomoaki Makino, courtesy of the artist © Yayoi Kusama

The 87-year-old Japanese artist and her glittering mirrored rooms have been smashing museum attendance records around the world. The new exhibition is the largest collection of her work to date and features six different infinity rooms and 60 other installations, sculptures, and paintings.

The Obliteration Room, 2002 to present. Photograph: QAGOMA Photography, © Yayoi Kusama

This exhibition also marks the first time the installations have been made accessible for people with limited mobility. Entrances to the infinity rooms are too narrow to accommodate wheelchairs, so Hirshhorn staff worked with Samsung to create an immersive virtual-reality version, which will only be available to museum visitors with disabilities. 

Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York. © Yayoi Kusama

Kusama, an occasional wheelchair user herself, is enthusiastic about the VR addition, and museum staff liked the new app so much that they’re considering repeating the process for other exhibitions in the future.

Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013.Courtesy of David Zwirner, N.Y. © Yayoi Kusama

“It forces you to simply be, to look, to experience something that’s immersive and to be fully immersed,” museum director Melissa Chiu told Artsy. “That is a very unique experience today for people; there are very few moments where you can feel alone in the cosmos, and that’s how Kusama designed it.”

Original image
Courtesy Chronicle Books
arrow
Design
Inside This Pop-Up Book Are a Planetarium, a Speaker, a Decoder Ring, and More
Original image
Courtesy Chronicle Books

Designer Kelli Anderson's new book is for more than just reading. This Book Is a Planetarium is really a collection of paper gadgets. With each thick, card stock page you turn, another surprise pops out.

"This book concisely explains—and actively demonstrates with six functional pop-up paper contraptions—the science at play in our everyday world," the book's back cover explains. It turns out, there's a whole lot you can do with a few pieces of paper and a little bit of imagination.

A book is open to reveal a spiralgraph inside.
Courtesy Chronicle Books

There's the eponymous planetarium, a paper dome that you can use with your cell phone's flashlight to project constellations onto the ceiling. There's a conical speaker, which you can use to amplify a smaller music player. There's a spiralgraph you can use to make geometric designs. There's a basic cipher you can use to encode and decode secret messages, and on its reverse side, a calendar. There's a stringed musical instrument you can play on. All are miniature, functional machines that can expand your perceptions of what a simple piece of paper can become.

The cover of This Book Is a Planetarium
Courtesy Chronicle Books
Original image
Noriyuki Saitoh
arrow
Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
Original image
Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios