Beverly Hills, CA

Yayoi Kusama

Gagosian Gallery

When, in a 1998 interview with Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama observed that while cancer is what people fear, flowers are “what people enjoy visually. . . . Ultimately, they are the same. When they die, they [both] become dust . . .” she may well have been forecasting the essence of her most recent series of large-scale sculptures, “Flowers That Bloom at Midnight,” 2007–2009. Recently exhibited with new canvases and an unrelated sculpture at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills were seven entries to that series from this year, immense blossoms made from fiberglass-reinforced plastic that linger delicately on a threshold between joy and horror with their vibrant immediacy, overwhelming presence, and saccharine, poxlike patterning. At once organic and cartoonlike, each of the basic, five-petal flower forms—handpainted in clownish, multicolored, hard-edged dots (Kusama’s signature)—rested directly

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