Kusama Is Not All Selfies and Mirrors
Kusama was just 24 when she made The Island in the Sea No. 1, 1953, a small gouache/pastel. It bears comparison to 1950s Sam Francis while anticipating the Infinity Nets and Polka Dots.
In 1966 Kusama did another mirrored space, Love Forever, also in the show in refreshed form. This is the small room you peep into (or your cell phone does), though Kusama posed inside the original installation.
Yet it was Samaras' room—mimimalist and serious—that entered the canon. Kusama's more playful, female-gaze rooms didn't. It's hard to believe that gender didn't play a factor. (In any case the Kusama resurgence is now eclipsing the reputation of Samaras' room.)
|Yayoi Kusama and Joseph Cornell, 1970. Courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio, Inc.|