Yayoi Kusama

With all my love for the tulips — Yayoi Kusama

The Marciano Art Foundation in LA has a Yayoi Kusama exhibit up and we had to take off our shoes and/or wear plastic slippers on top of them before entering. I was wearing boots so I had to take off my boots but my husband and my daughter wore their plastic slippers on top of their shoes. It was not inconvenient but it induced a sort of reverence-cum-anxiety in me. Once inside, I was aware of this feeling while admiring the work. How much of the admiring was weighed (up or down) by this anxiety? It’s hard to tell but it was a factor. There was the sense of being in the presence of “art”. There was a sense of reverence fostered by the ritual that had preceded the viewing. Question: Should more art come with such ritual? Note how the Japanese infuse tea with such meaning.


There was a man. Rather suddenly, loudly and with a tinge of impatience in his voice, he asked everyone in the space to move to one side so he could get the picture he wanted — two tulips angled in a certain way. Everyone complied. I’ll admit I was surprised. This is not something that would have happened in India and it was a moment of cultural reckoning. What surprised me was the way he said ‘please’, with some authority , as if he deserved this, as if we had been getting in his way by viewing the exhibit normally. I asked the docent later if this was common. She said it was not.


The museum itself is beautiful, another example of the architectural beauty Los Angeles has to offer.

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