Yayoi Kusama, the eccentric artist behind the popular “Infinity Mirrors” exhibit, is back with Narcissus Garden — an installation of 1,500 mirrored stainless steel spheres set inside a Fort Tilden train garage.
The reflective orbs will accentuate the abandoned industrial building’s features and the damage that was done by superstorm Sandy, according to the Museum of Modern Art PS1, which is presenting the installation with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
This is the first time the installation has been in New York City — it first appeared in Italy during the Venice Biennale in 1966, according to MoMA. The spheres, which were then made of plastic, sat on the lawn of the Italian Pavilion. Kusama herself showed up with signs saying “Narcissus Garden, Kusama” and “Your Narcissism for Sale.” She sold each sphere for about $2 each, the museum said.
The installation made its way to England at Sotheby’s “Beyond Limits” exhibition in 2009.
The piece was meant to critique the commercialization of contemporary art and later became an important turning point in Kusama’s career as the first of many “radical, politically charged” performances that she did in the late 1960s in New York City, according to the museum.
Most recently, Kusama’s “New York: Festival of Life” exhibit at David Zwirner Gallery brought long lines to Chelsea in November.
There is really one other place to see her work locally at the moment, although it’s not as Instagrammable as more than a thousand mirrored globes. Sky, a luxury apartment building in midtown, has her Large Pumpkin, made of carved bronze, in its carport and her “I carry on living with the pumpkin” in its fitness entrance on permanent display.
Narcissus Garden will be open from July 1 through Sept. 3 as part of “Rockaway!,” a public art festival and celebration of the Rockaway Peninsula’s recovery from Sandy.
You can stand in the garden Fridays through Sundays, from noon to 6 p.m. for free at 169 State Rd. in Fort Tilden.