“Kusama: Infinity” Film Kicks Off Everson’s “Behind the Artist Film Series”

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Yayoi Kusama, a world-renowned Japanese artist, increased her international reputation with her 2021 exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden titled “Cosmic Nature”. Best known for her installations Infinity Mirror Rooms and Dots Obsession, Kusama will be the focus of the opening documentary of the first “Behind the Artist Film Series” at the Everson Museum of Art.

Viewing of the film, titled “Kusama: Infinity”, is free for members of the Everson Museum of Art and $ 8 for general admission. The film will begin Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. and will run for one hour and 16 minutes.

“Kusama: Infinity” was created by filmmaker and director Heather Lenz in 2018, and will offer an intimate new look at Kusama’s journey as a contemporary artist. Garth Johnson, curator of ceramics at the Everson Museum of Art, said the documentary would provide compelling context for Kusama’s final “victory lap”.

“It felt natural to start the show with one of the most prominent artists in our collection,” Johnson said.

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Everson’s “Behind the Artist” film series, conceptualized by Nancy Keefe Rhodes, professor of visual and performing arts at Syracuse University, aims to celebrate both cinema and the diversity of the citizens of Syracuse, Johnson said.

This film follows Kusama’s rise to success as the world’s best-selling living female artist. In addition to being a woman of color in a historically white, male-dominated industry, Kusama continues to suffer from mental health issues, Johnson said.

Through it all, Johnson said, Kusama has only been open to the public about these challenges. This documentary will explore how this aspect of her life fuels her passion for her work.

“I fight pain, anxiety and fear every day, and the only method I have found to relieve my disease is to continue creating art,” Kusama said in an interview with Infinity Net.

Following the screening of “Kusama: Infinity,” the Everson Museum of Art will offer an informal discussion, led by Johnson, as well as a review of two of Kusama’s smaller sculptural pieces. Johnson is hoping this additional feature will spark some discussion about Kusama and provide an original angle on his work.

The “Series of Films Behind the Artist” will present different films on various contemporary artists. Each new episode in the series will premiere at Everson’s Hosmer Auditorium on the first Thursday of each month. The series will run until June 2022 and will feature films about artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cai Guo-Qiang, Enrique Metinides and Thomas Allen Harris.

“I felt this film series was an opportunity to shine a light on some artists and communities that are often overlooked,” Rhodes said. “This is a next step in expanding and deepening the museum’s ongoing commitment to these artists and their communities.”

Rhodes organized the “Series of Films Behind the Artist” with the Syracuse community in mind, as this new dimension of Everson will enrich the city’s culture. Rhodes said that “Kusama: Infinity” is a well-made and accessible film, and since the Everson is home to seven of Kusama’s plays, the documentary is all the more intriguing.

“The combination of cinema and films about the arts can be of great benefit to our community,” said Rhodes. “I want the community to know that there is so much to the arts than they expected.”


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