November 1, 2018
by Canadian Architect
#InfinityAGO campaign invites Toronto to help bring Canada’s first Infinity Mirror Room to the AGO… for infinity. Donors to be first to experience the artwork
The AGO has launched an ambitious crowdfunding campaign to acquire Canada’s first Infinity Mirror Room artwork by internationally acclaimed artist Yayoi Kusama. Last spring, over 165,000 people were wowed by Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at the AGO – the huge demand for tickets was unprecedented, crowds lined up around the block and the AGO extended its hours, but not everybody could participate in Kusama’s groundbreaking work. Inspired by the love for Kusama’s unique and immersive Infinity Mirror Rooms, the AGO wants to give everyone the opportunity to see her work in Toronto… for infinity.
Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room – Love Forever, 1966/1994, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Wood, mirrors, metal and lightbulbs. Photo by Cathy Carver
The AGO has announced that it has secured half the purchase price for an Infinity Mirror Room. The #InfinityAGO campaign invites Torontonians to donate the rest to ensure that current and future art lovers can experience Kusama’s extraordinary and innovative exploration of time and space. The acquisition would belong to the AGO and in turn, to the people of Toronto. The #InfinityAGO campaign has launched at InfinityAGO.ca.
“Yayoi Kusama is one of the most important artists alive today. The opportunity to have an Infinity Mirror Room as part of the AGO’s collection is deeply exciting,” says Stephan Jost, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. “We know that the people of Toronto have a special bond with Kusama and her art. It is time that a major Kusama Infinity Mirror Room be here in our city and province.”
The Infinity Mirror Room the AGO is hoping to acquire has never before been exhibited in Canada. It would be the first Infinity Mirror Room acquired by a Canadian public art museum. As funds are raised, the AGO will unveil pieces of a photo of the Infinity Mirror Room. The Infinity Mirror Room’s name and image will be revealed when the #InfinityAGO campaign is complete. The AGO hopes to reach its crowdfunding goal of $1.3 million CAD within 30 days so that the work can be brought to Toronto as soon as possible.
The AGO is the first Canadian art museum to launch a crowdfunding campaign of this scale to acquire a contemporary artwork. Donors of $25 and higher will have a chance to see the Infinity Mirror Room at the AGO in spring 2019 before it opens to the public. Other benefits, from buttons to umbrellas and more, are available for larger donation amounts. Donors within the first five days of the campaign, Nov. 1 until Nov. 5 at 12 p.m. will be entered into a contest for a sleepover at the AGO with five friends, which includes early and exclusive access to the Infinity Mirror Room. All donations of $100 and up will receive a tax receipt.
The AGO hopes to engage with thousands of people through the #InfinityAGO campaign. “A central theme in Kusama’s work is the idea of connectivity. So it’s fitting that #InfinityAGO will involve thousands of people working together to bring great art to Toronto. Together, infinity is achievable,” Jost says.
Support from individuals is critical to the AGO’s mission to bring people and art together, and to highlight the best art from across Canada and around the world. A registered charity, the AGO relies on the generosity of individual donors, corporate sponsors, members and visitors, to supplement the annual operating support from government sources. Most of the AGO’s artwork is acquired through generous donors who support the AGO, which is why the AGO is reaching out to the public in this unprecedented way.
Reflections on Infinity
ABOUT YAYOI KUSAMA
Yayoi Kusama with recent works in Tokyo, 2016. Courtesy of the artist © Yayoi Kusama, Photo by Tomoaki Makino
Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto, Nagano, and currently lives and works in Tokyo. She studied traditional Nihonga (Japanese-style) painting in Kyoto and moved to New York City in 1958. There she was active in avant-garde circles during the formative years of pop art and minimalism, exhibiting her work alongside such artists as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow – figures who have cited Kusama as influential to the development of assemblage, environmental art and performative practices. Kusama exhibited widely in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands in the mid-1960s, participating in exhibitions with artists associated with Nul, Zero and the New Tendency movements. In this context she began developing her interest in the optics and interactive elements of mirrors, electric lights, sound and kinetics. Her visibility grew in the late 1960s through her radical anti-war happenings, which put nudity and polka dots into the streets of New York. Due to ongoing struggles with her health, Kusama returned to Japan in 1973, where she has since resided. In recent years, she has achieved celebrity status and more importantly tremendous critical respect for her artistic contributions.