Yayoi Kusama’s genius lights up Las Vegas’ Bellagio Gallery


Yayoi Kusama makes her Las Vegas debut with two well-known works that fill entire rooms at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. The Japanese contemporary artist, considered one of the most influential living artists around, is known for her obsessive use of polka dots and other recurring patterns in sculptures and paintings.

“Narcissus Garden” was created five decades ago and has been reinstalled at several sites around the world. The “garden” is planted with 750 shiny, stainless steel globes, each a foot in diameter. The distorted images they reflect force visitors to “confront their own vanity,” the show’s news release said.

The light show lasts less than a minute in “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity.”
(Paul Stocum / MGM Resorts)

“Infinity Mirrored Room: Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity,” installed in a second room, is a Kusama hallmark. Visitors stand amid mirror-covered walls for the 45-second experience in which the room darkens and LED pendants hung from the ceiling begin to glow, giving off the feeling of being suspended in time and space.

(Two different Infinity Rooms are on display at the Broad museum in downtown L.A.).

A couple of cautions for visitors who want to see the mirrored room.

Yayoi Kusama, 89, is often referred to as the “queen of polka dots,” a pattern that repeats ini some of her works.
(MGM Resorts)

First, a posted sign says the flashing lights may cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy.

And there’s a warning that recommends skipping it “if you have sensitivities to flashing lights or dark, enclosed spaces.”

Also, the corridor leading to the work is just 23 inches wide, not wide enough for a standard wheelchair to navigate.

The Yayoi Kusama show at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art runs through June 30.
(Paul Stocum / MGM Resorts)

The Kusama show has been popular since it opened in November. Tickets cost $15. Visitors may want to consider buying timed tickets online before they go because Kusama’s Vegas exhibition is selling out at certain times.

The show is open daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through June 30.

According to Sotheby’s, Kusama boasts the highest auction prices of any living female artist. She will turn 90 on March 22.