Press RoomPhoenix Art Museum re-opens restored Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room

Phoenix Art Museum re-opens restored Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room

Phoenix Art Museum re-opens restored Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room
Sep, 05, 2023

Special Events and ProgramsAsian Art

Phoenix Art Museum re-opens restored Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room

Immersive installation You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies—the only Kusama infinity room in the American Southwest—to open September 9; Museum also premieres newly refreshed art of Asia installations

PHOENIX (September 5, 2023) – On September 9, 2023, Phoenix Art Museum celebrates the grand re-opening of infinity mirror room You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies (2005) by Yayoi Kusama following vital restoration work. The installation, which has been on view at the Museum since 2006, will now be exhibited in a more accessible, central location on the Museum’s first floor alongside new enhancements and didactics, offering visitors a more dynamic viewing experience. You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies, the only Kusama infinity mirror room in the American Southwest, is included with general admission, and advance tickets are not required.

“Prior to this restoration work, Kusama’s wildly popular immersive installation had been on view in our
galleries for well over a decade, one of the longest installations of an infinity mirror room in a U.S. art
museum,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak, the Museum’s Sybil Harrington Director and CEO. “To ensure we were
following best practices for collection stewardship, we made various technology upgrades to enhance the
visitor experience of the artwork while remaining in line with the artist’s intent. This conservation work is
part of our overall commitment to investing in the preservation of the iconic works in our collection,
efforts also recently seen through the return of Julian Opie’s Julian and Suzanne Walking to the downtown Phoenix skyline and the refresh of Jurassic Age by Sui Jianguo at the Museum’s main entrance off Central Avenue.”

Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Yayoi Kusama studied traditional Japanese painting before moving in
1958 to New York, where she created large-scale paintings with repeated motifs, crafted innovative
sculptures from everyday materials, directed performative Happenings at notable landmarks, and
experimented with fashion and fiction. Her artworks challenged the male-dominated art world, protested
war, and integrated art into life. From 1965, Kusama assembled light, sound, and sculpture in mirrored
rooms that suspend space and time. In her more recent works, the polka dots with which she covered
paintings and bodies become dots of starlight in faraway galaxies or a swarm of luminescent fireflies on a
summer evening, “obliterating” artist and audience.

Accompanying the Museum’s re-installation of You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of
Fireflies is new interpretative text that allows visitors to connect the immersive work to the Japanese
tradition of hotaru gari, when family and friends gather on early summer evenings to watch the luminous
lights of fireflies. This tradition is also explored through woodblock prints and in Japanese literature,
where fireflies symbolize love, beauty, and the manifestation of the soul. Guests will also discover how
You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies references the Japanese tradition of
toro nagashi, the floating lanterns that guide the soul to its resting place.

In celebration of the restored artwork, PhxArt will host a special Creative Saturday event on September 9
from 10 am to 2 pm with themed art-making activities and engagement experiences that will allow visitors to connect more deeply with the artwork. Programming is included with general admission and will feature:

• A fireflies-inspired scavenger hunt
• A polka-dot pumpkin art activity
• Dance performances by Movement Source
• A mini infinity mirror room make-it station
• Mix-and-match selfie booth with The Garment League
• Lemon Art Research Library pop-up
• + A special art talk with Kusama scholar Midori Yamamura, Ph.D.

That same day, the Museum will also unveil a new fall rotation of art of Asia installations, which will be
on view in the Art of Asia Wing adjacent to Kusama’s infinity mirror room. Scenes and Seasons in Japanese Art presents two series of featured paintings, one from antiquity and one from modernity, that depict the festivals that mark the celebration of seasonal changes. The display will also showcase lacquer artworks with motifs of birds and flowers and other scenes, such as gazing at the moon, writing poetry, dancing, and visiting historic places, which all have seasonal associations in Japanese culture.

Nature as Still Life in Chinese Painting will showcase gifts from the Papp Family Foundation that present examples of the artistic study of nature’s microcosm, a practice that spans centuries. Featured works reflect the traditional Chinese appreciation for nature down to the smallest details, a practice based on the indigenous philosophy of Daoism, which views humankind as subservient to and in reverence of the perfect and imperfect beauty of the natural world.

High-resolution photography for these new exhibitions and installations can be downloaded here. To request more information, contact the Communications Office of Phoenix Art Museum at 602.257.2117 or

About Phoenix Art Museum
Since 1959, Phoenix Art Museum has provided millions of guests with access to world-class art and experiences in an effort to ignite imaginations, create meaningful connections, and serve as a brave space for all people who wish to experience the transformative power of art. Located in Phoenix’s Central Corridor, the Museum is a vibrant destination for the visual arts and the largest art museum in the southwestern United States. Each year, more than 300,000 guests engage with critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions and the Museum’s collection of more than 20,000 works of American and Western American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. The Museum also presents a comprehensive film program, live performances, and educational programs designed for visitors of all ages, along with vibrant photography exhibitions made possible through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit, or call 602.257.1880.

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