Although Fujiko Nakayaam covered it in fog, and Julianna Barwick bathed it in ambient sound, Kusama’s Dots Obsession – Alive, Seeking for Eternal Hope is the first piece to engage the surfaces of Philip Johnson‘s modernist New Canaan home directly. Bright red dots of varying sizes are pasted onto the Glass House’s walls, playfully disrupting the structure’s rigid geometries and distorting its regular patterns of light and shadow to create an “infinity room.”
“My desire is to measure and to make order of the infinite, unbounded universe from my own position within it, with polka dots. In exploring this, the single dot is my own life, and I am a single particle amongst billions. I work with the principal themes of infinity, self-image, and compulsive repetition in objects and forms, such as the steel spheres of Narcissus Garden and the mirrored walls I have created,” Kusama explained in a statement.
“Kusama directly and deliberately plays with the surface of the Glass House,” curator Irene Shum told the New York Times. She added that Dots Obsession “draws the visitor out into the landscape with layer reflections of polka dots.”
The exhibition dialogues with Kusama’s other works on-site. Her six-foot-tall PUMPKIN, installed in 2015, sits atop a hill northeast of the Brick House, where Ellsworth Kelly’s Curve II (1973) once lived. Narcussis Garden, 1,300 12-inch reflective orbs, floats in the property’s pond. The installation originally debuted at the 1966 Venice Biennale and was resurrected to celebrate Philip Johnson’s 110th birthday and the 10th anniversary of the Glass House’s public opening. Visitors can buy a sphere (“YOUR NARCISSIUM [sic]”) for two dollars apiece.
That installation closes September 7 and Dots Obsession runs through September 26. To see the three pieces together, Kusama fans should drop everything and get to New Canaan soon.