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Yayoi Kusama installation with reflective spheres will emerge in the Rockaways

The installation is comprised of 1,500 mirrored, stainless steel spheres

The building in which the installation will be placed.
Photo by Pablo Enriquez courtesy MoMA PS1

Following popular collaborations in 2014, and 2016, MoMA PS1 is teaming up with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, and other groups to bring back the Rockaway! arts festival this year. This time around, MoMA PS1 will present an installation by renowned artist Yayoi Kusama at a former train garage in Fort Tilden, in the Rockaways.

Narcissus Garden, which is comprised of 1,500 mirrored stainless steel spheres, was first presented by Kusama at the 33rd Venice Biennale, in 1966. At that time, the spheres were made in plastic, and the installation and performance itself was an unofficial one, staged outside the Italian Pavilion, on the lawn.

Kusama stood among her creations with signs that read “Your Narcissism For Sale,” while also offering to sell the spheres for $2 a piece. The installation was meant as a critique on the commercialization of contemporary art, but also a means for Kusama to promote her work. Following the showing in Venice, Kusama brought the installation to different parts of New York City in the late 1960s like Central Park, and Tompkins Square Park; and now some five decades later, the installation is making its triumphant return to the city.

Kusama with the original installation in 1966.
Courtesy David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London/Venice.

This time around, the exhibit is meant to highlight the impact of Hurricane Sandy, as the spheres reflect the surroundings of the former train garage. The arts festival itself was organized to celebrate the recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy, in 2012.

Klaus Biesenbach, the director of MoMA PS1, said in a statement that this Kusama installation evokes her courageous and adventurous spirit, especially at the time that she was an emerging artist, and that this would resonate among upcoming artists who live and work in the Rockaways right now. It’s also sure to be an Instagram-magnet, as the New York Times noted, when the installation officially debuts on July 1. It will remain at Fort Tilden until September 3.


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