Sunday, July 22, 2012

GONE DOTTY - The Yayoi Kusama Opening at the Whitney Museum

On July 11th, we attended the Whitney Museum's reception celebrating the opening of its Yayoi Kusama exhibition. In Yayoi's honor, we came wearing lots of polka dots, from our hats right down to our socks and shoes.

Artist Yayoi Kusama is a woman after our own hearts.

In her youth, she was outrageous. Below, in the '60s, she poses nude with two of her favorite themes: polka dots and, um, - shall we say - growths.

In her old age, she knows what she likes, sticks with it, and doesn't care what anyone thinks. In the photo below, you can see she still likes polka dots, to such an extent that she has incorporated into her wheelchair.

So we were very excited when we discovered that the Whitney Museum was holding a huge restrospective of her work (fans as we are of polka dots, if not so much of growths), and agreed we would have to go to the opening. Hahahahahahahahahahaha. We and a million other people, with whom we stood on a line a full city block long for about thirty minutes.  We took this picture near Park Avenue, and the smallest head you can see in the distance is near Madison Avenue.

Here's one of many like-minded admirers on line with us that evening, proudly sporting his spots.

When the line finally reached Madison Avenue, we looked down into the courtyard got to see how many guests had already beaten us to the punch -- and the hors d'oeuvres.

Ms. Kusama is doing a monumental tie-up with Louis Vuitton. (Remember the polka dot collar we showed you a few weeks ago? That's part of it .) So it was not surprising that we ran into Dino Pantazopoulos, who works for LV North America. When he asked to have his picture taken with us, we were more than happy to oblige.  We noticed that he'd hand-painted the white dots on his red tie for the occasion. (At his desk, with Liquid Paper?, we wondered...)

We also met David Calle from Ralph Lauren at the party, which seems to have attracted the fashion crowd as well as the art crowd.

We had to stop Victor for a photograph.  Not only was he dressed in dots, but was also sporting around his neck his own handmade portrait of Ms. Kusama, made of beads. Check out his website at 3PTPOP.COM.

This woman told us her daughter had sewn the dots on her pink dress.

Joel Snyder, who works at the Whitney, was appropriately dressed for the occasion.

Another guest in polka dots.

Both of these young women incorporated dots into their outfits. They posed in front of some of the red mylar orbs that covered the west wall of the courtyard in honor of Ms. Kusama.

This dapper gentleman took the subtle approach. Note the polka dotted pocket square.

We loved this wonderful bow tie.

Since we're style bloggers, we thought we'd include these Kusama fashions, which come complete with their own growths. The top is a wonderfully saturated shade of pink.

We foolishly did not take down this woman's name, but enjoyed talking with her. We had previously run into her at the Helmut Lang show.

Some of Kusama's works are huge. Jean gives you some idea what kind of scale she deals in. The 1982 work on the wall behind her is titled Leftover Snow in the Dream.

Valerie stepped dangerously close to the artwork to pose for this photo and got a good natured scolding from one of the guards, who then told us she loved our hats.

These two ladies looked just as good coming as they did going.

This mother-daughter pair were enjoying themselves immensely at the show.

We had met both of these lovely ladies on previous occasions. The lady on the right even has a copy of Joana Avillez' "Life Dressing: The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas".

Speaking of Joana, whom should we run into next but her friend Sophia (2nd from left).

This Kusama piece, Fireflies in the Night, had an entire room on the first floor consecrated to it. We were not allowed to enter it - only to view it as outsiders looking in. There's a mirror at the opposite end, so we were able to see ourselves, and if you look carefully you can see we're also reflected upside down.  Although the larger Kusama show closes on September 30, 2012, the Fireflies installation will remain open until October 28, 2012.

Francois Vandame and his brother carouse for the camera in front of the Fireflies installation on the first floor.

Ariel Krupnik was a vision in toile. Even his business card is covered back and front in the same print. Needless to say, he's hard to forget and we will definitely remember him when our paths cross again. (And don't forget to check out his shoes.)

Check out the spectacular sunset in the background. Even Mother Nature got into the act.

After the show, since we'd missed most of the refreshments, we walked a few blocks north, back to Bar Pleiades. On the way we stopped in front a shop called Ahn Ann, which we can always count on to have some unimaginable confections inside. From the window display, you can see the folks at Ahn Ann have also caught spotted fever.

We stopped for one more photo of Valerie with an architect who just moved to NYC and a zebra-clad performance artist and her friend. The two ladies were hilarious in describing reactions to the jumpsuit at other NYC venues and how much warmer the audience reaction at the Whitney had been.

At Bar Pleiades, we split an order of wonderful french fries dusted with what tasted like truffle powder and each had an El Diablo (Lunazul tequila, ginger syrup and creme de cassis).

We compared notes, swapped stories, planned our next Yayoi Kusama escapade (stay tuned) and had a terrific time.

What We're Wearing We're both wearing the vintage coolie hats we bought at a thrift shop, which we spray painted red. Polka dots are courtesy of Staples office supplies. In addition:

Valerie is wearing: Black and white plastic polka dot clip-on earrings from Jean's mom; red and white polka dot reading glasses, unlabeled; white linen suit by Calvin Klein (thrift shop); cotton and nylon paneled tee shirt from H&M; red leather pin by Tereza Symon's mother; Happy Feet red and white polka dot socks; clear plastic shoes by Gaetano Pesce for Melissa.

Jean is wearing: Black Lilith jumpsuit; American Apparel black and white striped t-neck; Underground creepers; vintage red bakelite earrings, rings, and cuff.


  1. Am just loving all the polka dots in this post (I was wondering when we would see those red hats of yours again)! I had seen a photograph of Yayoi Kasuma on someone's style blog and was curious about her, as she has such a unique look. She definitely has her share of super-fab male fans; those are some of the most awesome outfits on men I've ever seen, especially on Victor and Ariel. I am swooning over the gold, red and orange balloon legged jumpsuit.

  2. That is a lot of dots! I love how different people made the same type of pattern work for them.

  3. In awe of the style self expression in polka dots displayed throughout your post. Your vintage coolie hats are the perfect canvas for the addition of dots. Kasuma's love of dots has been embraced by so many, somehow making the world seem lighter, festive, fun!

  4. You two certainly know how to enjoy yourselves as with the people around you too!