– The Glass House is pleased to present Yayoi Kusama: Narcissus Garden, a landscape installation that will be on view throughout the 2016 tour season to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Philip Johnson’s birth and the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Glass House site to the public. First created fifty years ago in 1966 for the Venice Biennale, the 2016 iteration of Narcissus Garden will be updated specifically for the Glass House 49-acre landscape.
“We are honored to be working with Yayoi Kusama, an artist Philip Jonson both admired and collected. This exhibition playfully engages the entire site, creating a celebratory mood for Philip Johnson’s 110th birthday and the 10th year of the opening of this museum,” said Irene Shum, Curator and Collections Manager at The Glass House.
Narcissus Garden, comprising 1,400 floating steel spheres, each approximately 11 inches in diameter (28cm) will be installed in the lower meadow and forest, creating a dramatic view to the west of the Glass House. Drifting in the newly restored pond, the spheres will move with the wind and follow the pond’s natural currents, forming a kinetic sculpture. Their mirrored surfaces will reflect the surrounding Pond Pavilion (1962), wooded landscape, and sky.
In addition to the pond, twelve spheres will be placed in the pool located in the Glass House’s courtyard where visitors can encounter the installation first, as they approach the Glass House. These spheres will act as a “teaser,” hinting at the large, site-specific installation in the pond that only reveals itself fully upon reaching the Glass House. The spheres in the circular Pool (1955) designed by Johnson will visually connect the historic core of the Glass House to the Lower Meadow. The floating spheres of Narcissus Garden will accentuate the dreamlike vista of the highly sculpted, yet seemingly natural landscape of the Lower Meadow.
The Glass House will also install Kusama’s recently created enormous steel PUMPKIN. The placement of PUMPKIN will be in the hillside meadow, east-northeast of the Brick House (1949), on a concrete sculpture footing where Ellsworth Kelly’s Curve II (1973) was once installed. “The first time I saw a pumpkin was in elementary school. In Japanese, a ‘pumpkin head’ is an ignorant man or a pudgy woman, but for me, I am charmed by its shape, form, and lack of pretension. Inside, it is filled with seeds. Each seed is its own universe. Each seed is like a polka dot,” says the artist.
“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 turn this obsession into objects and forms, such as the steel spheres
of Narcissus Garden and polka dots on the Glass House.”
First created out of silver-colored plastic, Narcissus Garden was both a sculpture on display and a piece of performance art, as the artist sold the spheres to visitors for $2 each. Staked into the lawn were two signs stating: “NARCISSUS GARDEN, KUSAMA” and “YOUR NARCISSIUM [sic] FOR SALE.” Recent versions of this sculpture have been included in important international exhibitions, such as the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Whitney Biennial, and FIAC. The artist has installed the work in Central Park in New York City and Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, among other notable parks. The work has also been exhibited in historic residences, such as the Chatsworth House
Organized by Irene Shum, Curator and Collections Manager at The Glass House.
A special thanks to the David Zwirner Gallery.
Special exhibition tours will be offered throughout the season once a week. Visitors will access new areas of the property and have a closer experience to the artwork.
Private tours with the curator, Irene Shum, will be available during the special dot installation September 1 through 26th, 2016.
Spring 2016 will offer a film workshop for the upcoming work-in-progress documentary Yayoi Kusama: A Life in Polka-Dots, currently in post-production and to be released in late 2016/early 2017. Producer David Koh (Jean-Michel Basquiat: the Radiant Child, Marina Abramovic: the Artist Is Present, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict) from Submarine Entertainment and Executive Producer Alice Koh will show a portion of the work-in-progress and lead the discussion and take questions from the audience.
Fall 2016 will have a special performance by award-winning artists Ryuichi Sakamoto and alva noto, composers of the original, Golden Globe nominated, film score for the major motion picture The Revenant.
Yayoi Kusama’s work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: pop art and minimalism. Her extraordinary and highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures, which allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes. Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Kusama briefly studied painting in Kyoto before moving to New York City in the late 1950s. Kusama joined David Zwirner in early 2013. The gallery's inaugural exhibition in 2013 with the artist, titled I Who Have Arrived In Heaven, spanned all three spaces at West 19th Street in New York. Her second gallery solo show presented new works at David Zwirner, New York, on view May 9 to June 13, 2015. Kusama was recently named the world's most popular artist by various news outlets, based on museum
Work by the artist is held in museum collections worldwide, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; amongst numerous others. Kusama lives and works in Tokyo.
The Glass House was built between 1949 and 1995 by architect Philip Johnson, the Glass House is a National Trust Historic Site located in New Canaan, CT. The pastoral 49-acre landscape comprises fourteen structures, including the Glass House (1949), and features a permanent collection of 20th century painting and sculpture, along with temporary exhibitions. The tour season runs from May through November and advance reservations are required. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit www.theglasshouse.org.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately funded nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places to enrich our future. www.PreservationNation.org Night (1947 – 2015) and Night Sounds contribute to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s larger goal of reimagining historic sites for the 21st century. The guiding principles of this initiative are that historic sites must be dynamic, relevant, and evolving and that they must foster an understanding and appreciation of history and culture that is critical, sensory, and layered.
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