I’d never heard of 92-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, and if it wasn’t for the grand exhibition now on display at Tel Aviv Museum, chances I would still be living in ignorance. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because often the artist’s reputation can precondition the opinions of the viewer. And I was relieved when realizing that my ignorance was encouraged by the museum itself. For an unrelated exhibition, the museum put up a welcome sign stating in English: “Hey! Did you know that art does not exist: All is vanity (ego).” If taken seriously, I said to our guide, this Dadaist type of slogan should be followed up by turning the museum into an office building. But I digress.
Still, unconditioned as I was, I could definitely sense her genius. I was mildly impressed by Kusama’s paintings and very impressed with her infinite rooms. I was also mildly impressed with her morality after learning that back in the happy 1960s she staged orgies for artistic displays. And I was not impressed...
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