MoMA PS1 presents Yayoi Kusama’s (Japan, b. 1929) site-specific installation of Narcissus Garden (1966–present) as the third iteration of Rockaway!, a free public art festival presented with Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Bloomberg Philanthropies in the Gateway National Recreation Area at Fort Tilden. Comprised of 1,500 mirrored stainless steel spheres, Narcissus Garden is on view in a former train garage that dates to the time when Fort Tilden was an active US military base. The mirrored metal surfaces 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 The silver spheres, originally made from plastic, were installed on the lawn in front of the Italian Pavilion, reflecting the landscape of the exhibition grounds.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 1,200 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 toward the radical, politically charged public performances that would be the focus of her work in the late 1960s in New York City. READ MORE
Image & text : moma.org