Yayoi Kusama's exhibit, I Who Have Arrived in Heaven

Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit, I Who Have Arrived in Heaven

It took me two days and over two hours standing in line for my 45-second timed-entry in the infinity mirrored room that was the showcase of Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit in the Chelsea gallery of David Zwirner.  And the wait was worth it.

It turned out to be quite an adventure to get in to see this free exhibit by the 85-year-old Kusama, a Japanese artist.  The first time I attempted to see it there was already a line for the mirrored infinity room called The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.  This installation was being shown for the first time, and was quite an attraction.

Since I had an appointment for lunch with my nephew, I didn’t have time to wait in line then, but instead viewed Kusama’s paintings and a second mirrored infinity room called Love Is Calling.  The paintings reminded me somewhat of Australian aboriginal art.




The gallery handout described the Love Is Calling room as “one of Kusama’s most immersive, kaleidoscopic environments to date.  It is composed of a darkened, mirrored room illuminated by inflatable, tentacle-like forms — covered in the artist’s characteristic polka dots — that extend from the floor and ceiling, gradually changing colors.”


IMAGE_668I thought I might get in to see the second infinity room after lunch, but when I returned, the line was longer than before.  I waited about 30 minutes, and my forward progress was almost nil.  I decided I would try again first thing the next morning.

The gallery was scheduled to open at 10:00 a.m., and when I arrived at 9:25, there was already a line.

The line when I arrived.

The line when I arrived.

Waiting in line

Waiting in line

These New Yorkers have a thing about waiting in lines.  I guess it’s almost inevitable given how many people reside in the city.  I, like several others, had brought breakfast with me — a latte from the Chelsea Market and half of a leftover bagel with cream cheese.  I noticed that no matter how long the wait, no one sat down on the sidewalk!  I also noticed that I was by far the oldest person in line.  Everyone was good natured and patient.  I was resolved not to give up.

Every single person ahead of me was entitled to 45 seconds in the infinity mirrored room, The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, so I progressed in a slow, but steady pace.  One of the gallery staff monitored the door, stopwatch in hand, and kept the line moving.

You could get a preview glimpse inside when the door opened

You could get a preview glimpse inside when the door opened

Finally it was my turn.  I was in a mirrored room standing on a short projection into a shallow reflecting pool of water.  Multi-colored LED lights flickered and changed color in the darkened room, giving the feeling of being in infinite space, surrounded on all sides by thousands of stars.  The 45 seconds was too short.  I left with regret, but thankful to have had this fleeting experience.



When I left, the line outside was even longer.


You can read more about Kusama and her exhibit here and here and here.





Calla lilies in a bucket, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market will soon be celebrating its one-year anniversary, and I stopped by the warehouse to photograph some of its current offerings of fresh, seasonal blooms.  The market is a producer’s cooperative that supports Washington, Oregon and Alaska flower farmers and provides a place for them to sell directly to Seattle area florists, event planners, stylists, and other buyers of flowers.

Several of the Seattle Wholesale growers, including Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm, have recently been featured in a new book, The 50 Mile Bouquet by Debra Prinzing.  This book captures an exciting time in the floral industry, when more and more buyers are demanding locally and sustainably grown flowers.

Every visit to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is a feast for my eyes, and this one was as rewarding as ever.  Here are a few photos:

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is housed in an old warehouse.

A big selection of twigs and branches for floral arrangements

Budding branches of purple leaf plum for spring bouquets

Cylindrical bark containers

I love these twiggy wreaths!

Moss, buds, and twigs give rustic texture to this wreath.

The first-of-the-season sweet peas

Passionale daffodil and yellow specialty daffodils

Bucket of Passionale daffodils

Bucket of Frittelaria Assyriaca

Blooming branches

Stool, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Pussy willows and polka dots

Pussy willow and polka dots

“How can you expect the birds to sing when their groves are cut down?”
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Wintering robin on the apple tree outside my window

I like to think of Thoreau the bird-watcher.  His world around Walden’s Pond was filled with the sights and sounds of birds, and many of his writings noted their activity.  He came up with some very imaginative descriptions, for example the barred owl as “winged brother of the cat” or, “The hawk is the aerial brother of the wave . . . ”

I don’t see many bird species in the city of Seattle.  I am at a disadvantage as a bird-watcher because I have significant hearing loss and I can’t hear most bird songs anymore.  But I try to pay attention.  The two most common birds in my life are crows and gulls.

Crow with blue-black feathers at Green Lake

Urban crow

California gull with distinctive dark ring on beak and polka-dot wing tips.

Thoreau was an early ecologist, and he very aptly linked the loss of habitat with the eventual decline of bird populations.  We’d do well to heed his cautionary quote.