QUEENS – There is a new site-specific installation made up of 1,500 mirrored stainless steel spheres by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama became MOMA PS1’s third installment of “Rockaway!“, a free public art festival.
Narcissus Garden will be on view in a former train garage from the time when Fort Tilden was an active U.S. military base. The mirrored metal surfaces will reflect the industrial surroundings of the now-abandoned building, drawing attention to Fort Tilden’s history as well as the devastating damage inflicted on many buildings in the area by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Narcissus Garden was first presented in 1966 when Kusama staged an unofficial installation and performance at the 33rd Venice Biennale. The silver spheres, originally made from plastic, were installed on the lawn in front of the Italian Pavilion, reflecting the landscape of the exhibition grounds. Kusama herself stood among them, barefoot and dressed in a gold kimono, alongside yard signs inscribed with the words “Narcissus Garden, Kusama” and “Your Narcissism for Sale.” Throughout the opening day of the exhibition, Kusama remained in the installation, tossing the spheres in the air and offering to sell them to visitors for 1200 lire (approximately $2) each. The action, which was viewed both as self-promotion and a critique on the commercialization of contemporary art, would later be seen as a pivotal moment in Kusama’s career as she transitioned from installation towards the radical and politically charged public performances that would be the focus of her work in the late 1960s in New York City.