I'll Be Your Mirror

Kusama was a meteor on the '60s art scene, arriving in New York from Japan, befriending Joseph Cornell, and painting dots and networks of lines on a vast number of surfaces, including furniture, people, animals, and phallic protuberances. She once crashed the Venice Biennale, offering small mirror balls for sale on the lawn outside the Italian pavilion, but was informed by authorities that one cannot "sell art like hot dogs or ice cream cones." She has a history of hallucinations and stints in mental hospitals but has always continued working, and pieces like The Passing of Winter continue her obsessions: a box tiled with mirrors inside and out is pierced with cut-out circles; look inside and your reflection is bounced around a dizzying matrix of suspended and fallen reflective balls. Five-foot-high canvases hung in tight clusters have been silk-screened with obsessive patterns of repeated faces and braided abstract forms built up from wavy black lines, forming a river of graphic energy. Ladder to Heaven (2006) is threaded with fiber-optic cable that slowly cycles through a spectrum of color; large round mirrors placed top and bottom seem to offer a simple conclusion: Whether you climb to heaven or descend into hell, they are both illusions—all we can be sure of is the material fact of the beautiful object before us.

Robert Polidori

Polidori's eye for composition (the blades of a ceiling fan droop like the petals of a dying magnolia, dried mud as thick and cracked as old concrete collapses a bed) and color (black and pink-pastel mold blooms on buckled walls, a framed beach scene of a lighthouse and blue waves lies crookedly across a filthy red recliner) heightens the impact of these photographs of Hurricane Katrina's devastation. These views of ravaged structures bring a disaster of biblical proportions down to human scale by documenting the destruction of the simple, mundane objects that make a house a home. Metropolitan Museum, 1000 Fifth Ave, 212-535-7710. Through Dec 10.

Yayoi Kusama's The Passage of Winter, 2006
photo: Yayoi Kusama/Courtesy Robert Miller Gallery
Yayoi Kusama's The Passage of Winter, 2006

Details

Yayoi Kusama
Robert Miller
524 West 26th Street
Through November 25

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