MATTHEW COLLINGS SAYS (AND I COULD NOT AGREE MORE): ‘You could say that taste is defined by people who have it and then it has an institutional dimension that serves people who have power who don’t necessarily have taste — then those who have taste often think of themselves as nothing to do with power and they really believe their sense of taste makes them kind of more powerful than the powerful. You’d have to then start seriously questioning what on earth is this taste shit? Is it like truth or something? In any case there are books you can read about the whole problem, if your question is serious. Pierre Bourdieu for example. As for Kosama anyone with taste can see it’s pretty tasteless kitsch. “Infantile” is precisely the word for its visual idiotic obvious crassness. Not in the sense of the genuine creativity of children but more like the appeal to infantilism that the worst commercial popular junk makes whether under the heading of “art” or anything else whose only purpose is to be sold. There was a brief period of oil paintings by Kosama, more or less in a Minimalist style in the early 60s, influenced by Judd, which is impressive, but nothing else. Her appeal is strictly outside of issues of taste, or artistic quality or artistic autonomy, or aesthetics. It is to do with different criteria of excellence, achievement, importance etc which have their own discourses — which are often about challenging power’

READER CLAUDE REICH ADDS:

‘There is no accounting for “taste”. This can be discussed. Whatever the way we try to appropriate external objects, we use determined mental structures by doing so. Those mental structures are determined not only by the times in which we live, but also by where we belong within the social structure. We judge based on cognitive structures determined by our social rank, a rank which is not static but dynamic. Good book by Pierre Bourdieu as Matthew points out, called The Distinction. Aesthetic judgment, which is what bad taste (or the judgment that someone has such taste) is, is a concretization of our situation within the social forces of one moment. Any judgment of taste is one of a determined social group. If you speak of cooking or if you speak of gastronomy…if you judge, you rank, but you are also ranked. Taste depends on social classes, etc. another good book is Bourdieu’s the Heirs’

ABOUT KUSAMA’S SUCCESS IN NEW YORK:

Things we loved about MoMA’s Rain Room, the art installation that swept New York City earlier this year: the way the ethereal space mimicked the natural world, how it mixed the beauty of natural resources with the wonder of technology, and its ability to attract even the most amateur of art lovers to the inside of a museum.

Things we hated about MoMA’s Rain Room: the six-hour long lines that formed outside the exhibit, how its “viral” status tended to overshadow the rest of EXPO: 1 New York, and the way it slowly transformed from an art show to the perfect Instagram backdrop.

So, do we want Yayoi Kusama‘s current NYC artworks, two versions of her very popular “Infinity Rooms,” to turn into Rain Room, part deaux?

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘I Who Have Arrived In Heaven’ Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

Queues have already been forming inside of David Zwirner gallery, where admirers are attempting to get into “Infinity Mirrored Room — The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away” and “Love Is Calling.” The first is an isolated space occupied by reflective surfaces and twinkling lights, reminiscent of The Whitney’s previous Kusama-centric installation, “Fireflies on the Water.” The other is a room covered in spotted, tentacled sculptures and filled with Kusama’s voice echoing through the whimsical ecosystem.

Visitors are only allowed around 40 seconds in each of the chambers, which is a brief foray compared to the limitless time onlookers were given to gaze at MoMA’s rain storm. According to The Wall Street Journal, docents are urging those in line for the “Infinity Rooms” to wait patiently inside the gallery, but away from the other 27 paintings on display in “I Who Have Arrived in Heaven.”

We’re not going to ask people to stand outside in the rain,” said Hanna Schouwink, a gallery partner who worked on the exhibition. “I hope it’s not going to get too cold, because we’ll be in trouble here.”

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘I Who Have Arrived In Heaven’ Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

On the one hand, we strive to be champions of democratized art. In our opinion, the more accessible and available an art project, the better, so we’re happy to see bustling crowds flock to Kusama’s artworks. During a press preview for the exhibition, Kusama herself beseeched journalists and art admirers to bring as many eyes to her work as possible.

“I would like to work with you together to make that happen, to deliver the joy of the art and love and peace to people who are suffering and don’t have the opportunity to enjoy the joy of the art,” she stated.

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘I Who Have Arrived In Heaven’ Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

But on the other hand, it’s difficult to consider the throngs of people waiting to ponder infinity, merely loitering around the dotted universe Kusama creates with her painted masterpieces. Her canvases show off a multitude of eyeballs, polka dots and lines exploding before your eyes in a flurry of neon colors; frenetic visions that Kusama rather ambitiously intends as purveyors of world peace, universal happiness and solidarity.

If you’re a longtime fan of Kusama’s polka-dotted point of view, you’ll want to head to Chelsea before Rain Room-esque madness descends upon us all. Paintings like “Praying for Peace in the World” and “A Woman With Pink Hair” are populated by new and ever-fantastical characters that evoke heightened levels of joy. The 84-year-old artist, on leave from the Japanese psychiatric hospital she calls home, has admitted that death is merely around the corner. But even the video piece, “Manhattan Suicide Addict,” a massive mirror-flanked moving image of the artist singing about her experience dealing with depression, seems to arouse feelings of pure resilience and encompassing love.

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘I Who Have Arrived In Heaven’ Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

I Who Have Arrived In Heaven” will be on view until December 21, 2013. Check out more images from the show below and let us know your thoughts on the already popular installations and noteworthy paintings in the comments.

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘I Who Have Arrived In Heaven’ Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘I Who Have Arrived In Heaven’ Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘I Who Have Arrived In Heaven’ Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘I Who Have Arrived In Heaven’ Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

yayoi kusamaYayoi Kusama’s ‘I Who Have Arrived In Heaven’ Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘I Who Have Arrived In Heaven’ Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)