A mysterious new institution calling itself the wndr museum has announced plans to bring a Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room to Chicago, the first to ever go on view in the Windy City. The pop-up museum promises to feature educational and experiential installations that merge art and science to appeal to visitors of all ages.
The Infinity Room in question, artnet News has learned, is none other than the installation that debuted last fall at New York’s David Zwirner Gallery, where it was seen by an astonishing 75,000 guests. Titled INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM: LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER, the work is filled with reflective steel balls and a small mirrored column that itself encloses an even smaller Infinity Room. The effect is especially mind-blowing, even for Kusama.
Overall, few details have been revealed about the forthcoming wndr museum, but it appears to be the non-museum kind of museum in the tradition of the Museum of Ice Cream and its offspring. With the exception of the Kusama work, the rest of wndr is full of Instagram-friendly photo opps in bright colors.
“The wndr museum represents the next level of experience in art—in other words, experience as art,” a spokesperson from the new venue told artnet News. “Legacy museums are about looking at art—the wndr museum is about you as part of art. wndr manipulates natural phenomena in a series of interactive experiences that invite you to look at yourself in relation to the world, from the tiniest speck to infinity.”
Presumably, an authentic Kusama is just one ways in which the wndr museum looks to elevate itself above recent pop-up attractions across the country like Glade’s Museum of Feelings in Manhattan, the soon-to-open avocado-themed CADO in San Diego, Refinery 29’s 29 Rooms in Williamsburg, and Los Angeles’ Museum of Selfies.
But wndr is promising to outdo the competition. It “will raise the bar on pop-up experiential exhibits,” according to a fact sheet provided to artnet News. “It will bring depth to an area that has been defined by lack of substance.”
It is only fitting that an authentic Kusama Infinity Room should appear in one of these Big Fun Art exhibitions: Many of them, including the Dream Machine, on view in Brooklyn through July 29, have created enclosed mirrored rooms of their own, in an obvious effort to replicate the fabled Kusama effect. An Indonesian museum called Rabbit Town also recently ripped off her Obliteration Room.
Wndr notes that “Many have said that the Infinity Mirror Room that will be featured at wndr museum is the culmination of all of her work.” (At the time, artnet News called it “the sculptural equivalent of Inception‘s dream-within-a-dream sequence,” noting that it combined one of her famed mirrored environments with the reflective spheres from her outdoor installation Narcissus Garden, shown at the Venice Biennale in 1966 and at the Glass House in Connecticut in 2016.)
The octogenarian artist has become a social media phenom in old age, with crowds lining up to catch blockbuster exhibitions across the globe. On the occasion of her last show, Zwirner told artnet News that Kusama is “the original gangster” of the kind of interactive, selfie-friendly work that dominates so much of the art world today.
The wndr bills itself as the love child of Andy Warhol and Albert Einstein. “The museum’s mission,” notes the fact sheet, “is to reawaken our curiosity to the beauty of wonder that exists in the natural world around us, combining art, science, beauty, curiosity and surprise.” It promises to engage all the senses, and to teach its visitors “more about the world around us.”
The organizers of the museum are currently anonymous, and they have not determined ticket prices have yet. Interested parties can sign up on the wndr website, which will notify them when they go on sale.
See more photos of Kusama’s INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM: LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER and a teaser video for the wndr museum below.
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