The Dot Meme Mutates at Zwirner

by Paddy Johnson on May 11, 2015 · 1 comment Opinion

Photo: Yayoi Kusama

Yauoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room, 2002-present. Photo: Kyle Chayka

“You can almost hear the cheers from the art-spectacle fans: Yay! Yayoi is back!” writes Kyle Chayka over at Vulture on the new Yayoi Kusama show at David Zwirner. She’s famous for putting dots on everything, a shape that for inexplicable reasons has legs in the art world and beyond. Anybody else remember Damien Hirst’s “worldwide exhibition” and retrospective of dots we were all supposed to take seriously at Gagosian in 2012? It was a show of different sized dots on different sized canvases. At the time, AFC’s Will Brand described the work as empty—”some weird meme for the impossibly rich that nobody knows how to stop.”  I prayed this comment would be localized to Hirst.

Now, though, there are reports of people lining up for the chance to put stickers on a re-creation of part of Kusama’s all-white, middle-class home called “Obliteration Room”. Why? Chayka hazards a guess: either it’s a way to understand the dot hallucinations Kusama has said she experience in her childhood, or “it’s just fun to tag things with stickers”. Neither warrant a response that reads like a big ol’ ad for Zwirner, but that’s another issue.

Kusama has made some strong work over the course of her career, so let’s not pretend she’s Hirst, but let’s also keep our wits about us. For me, that means refusing to get in line for the privilege of sticking a dot on a white surface. I can’t wait to read the reviews for this show.

{ 1 comment }

buggalo klapjack May 12, 2015 at 1:59 am

thats my favourite jon rafman piece to date

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