Yayoi Kusama’s Urban Beach Installation Is About to Take Over Your Instagram

The free art exhibition will make the Rockaways in New York a must-visit destination this summer.

Yayoi Kusama’s Urban Beach Installation Is About to Take Over Your Instagram

Yayoi Kusama’s “Narcissus Garden” installation on display at Brazil’s Inhotim contemporary art museum in February 2016.

Photo by Ksenia Ragozina/Shutterstock

Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors was arguably the most in-demand art exhibit of 2017. Her U.S. museum tour broke records in visitor attendance levels and if you used Instagram at all last year, photos of the Japanese artist’s colorful work likely dominated your feed. (You can still catch Infinity Mirrors at the Cleveland Museum of Art and at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art later this year.)

This summer, another surrealist installation from Kusama is heading to the Rockaways in New York starting July 1—and if Kusama’s previous U.S. exhibitions were any indication, the pop-up show will be a social media sensation. The work, titled Narcissus Garden, is made up of 1,500 reflective stainless steel spheres housed in an abandoned industrial garage in Fort Tilden, a former Army base on the beach in Queens.

☀️ This Summer, Kusama goes to the beach☀️ ... #YayoiKusama became infamous early in her career for an unofficial installation and performance of “Narcissus Garden” at the 1966 Venice Biennale. Standing among a sea of mirrored orbs, she sold the individual spheres to passerby—a critique of the commercialization of contemporary art. ... Beginning July 1, the 1,500 mirrored stainless steel spheres of “Narcissus Garden” will be installed in an abandoned building at Fort Tilden for the third iteration of Rockaway!, a free public art festival presented with Rockaway Artists Alliance (@rockaway_artists_alliance), Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (@jbrpc), National Park Service (@nationalparkservice), and Bloomberg Philanthropies (@bloombergdotorg) to celebrate the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway Peninsula following the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In this site-specfic presentation, the mirrored surfaces will reflect both the industrial space and the surrounding natural beachfront, which remains vulnerable after storm damage and susceptible to future ecological degradation. More information at moma.org/rockaway. #RockawayKusama A post shared by MoMA PS1 (@momaps1) on Jun 18, 2018 at 6:31am PDT

Kusama first presented the piece in 1966 at the Venice Biennale, where she stood with a sign that read “YOUR NARCISSUM [sic] FOR SALE” and offered to sell the spheres to passers-by for about $2, the New York Times reported. The installation was last on view in 2016 at architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut.

Critics suggest Narcissus Garden is a politically charged protest against the commercialization of art and a mainstream culture of vanity. Ironically, the summer exhibition will more than likely attract art buffs and Instagram-lovers seeking selfies.

Day dreaming in Narcissus Garden. 1300 floating balls. ⚪️⚪️⚪️ #yayoikusama #phillipjohnson #art #architecture A post shared by Celine Chang (@celchang) on Sep 21, 2016 at 7:12am PDT

Narcissus Garden
will be on view from July 1 through September 3. The public art installation is part of MoMA PS1’s Rockaway!, a yearly arts program devoted to the ongoing recovery of the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy, presented in collaboration with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

How to get there: NYC Ferry by Hornblower offers a direct route to the Rockaways with landings at Manhattan’s Pier 11 and Sunset Park in Brooklyn. The hour-long trip costs $2.75 one way.

>>Next: 5 Essential Stops on a Wonderful, Weird Tour of Gaudí’s Barcelona

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