Anyone familiar with Matsumoto probably knows about the permanent Kusama Yayoi display at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art. For nearly five months, the gallery has also been hosting a special, limited time exhibit on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Now nearing the end of its wildly successful run, the famed artist’s “All About My Love” show is set to wrap up on July 22nd. Get in while you still can (preferably on a weekday).
I myself was fortunate enough to visit the Matsumoto City Museum of Art this past Sunday and found the place packed with enthusiastic visitors. That said, the line-ups to buy tickets weren’t prohibitively long, and I was able to do so within about ten minutes of entering the building.
For the time being, the Kusama theme is not just limited to the exhibit itself, but literally spread all over the museum with polka dots adorning the front of the building exterior and riotously colorful statues running amok inside.
Visitors are asked to follow the colored footprints to the third floor where the exhibit actually begins. You’ll want to use some caution here as once you leave one area, you won’t be able to backtrack. Make sure you see everything you need to before moving on.
Visitors are also strictly forbidden from taking pictures of the first part of the exhibit which features a variety of disorienting walk-in installations that assault the senses with light and optical illusions. The first thing to genuinely stop me in my tracks was a black-lit room covered in a luminous polka dot pattern. The way the pattern covers the furniture as well as the walls and floor has the effect of flattening three dimensional objects into the scenery. I couldn’t take a photo for reasons already mentioned, but I doubt very much that it would have conveyed any sense of the visual effect.
Other highlights of the third floor include Kusama’s signature “Infinity Nets”–huge, wall-spanning paintings which can actually be physically painful to look at too long. Again, you have to see them firsthand to get the full effect.
Toward the end of the exhibition, you’ll come to a large room with an impressive variety of Kusama’s paintings on display. This is the only place where you are allowed to take pictures, so take your time and snap your fill.
From there, you briefly enter another no photo zone where you can spend a moment in a mirrored corridor with infinitely reflected pumpkin statues. It’s a brief but fitting way to end the tour.
PRO TIP: if you’re planning to stop by the gift shop (which you definitely should), consider going early. It was jam packed when I went in and the line to the register wound all around the shop. A twenty minute wait ensued while I queued up to purchase an art book and two coveted tins of pumpkin tea. If at all possible, try to visit on a weekday and well before the museum’s closing time of 5pm.
For further information on the event, see the official website: https://kusama2018.com/english
And if you’d like to read more about Kusama Yayoi and her work, have a look at this old post from our homepage: https://www.kamikochi.org/advisory/special/kusama-yayois-wild-vision-expanded
Held from March 3rd to July 22nd at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art
Hours: 9am to 5pm or 9am to 7pm on Saturday only. Last admission thrity minutes before closing.
Entrance Fees (tax included):
Adults: 1,200 yen at the door or 1,000 for advance or as part of a group
College and High School Students: 800 yen at the door or 600 for advance or as part of a group
Admission is free for children of junior high school age or younger as well as for persons with physical disabilities and one additional person accompanying them.