Prefab Home Becomes Interactive Art

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's work ranges from painting to sculpture, minimalist to Pop, but polka dots are certainly her signature mark. Now the American public can participate in the fun: Kusama's The Obliteration Room, where visitors are invited to leave their own designs using polka dot stickers, has arrived in the U.S. for the first time, at New York's David Zwirner Gallery. 

The prefab residence, complete with plastic deck chairs and an American flag outside, is on display until Saturday, June 13. The Room is part of a larger exhibition of paintings and sculptures at the gallery titled Give Me Love.

As with many of Kusama’s installations, the work is disarmingly simple in its elemental composition; however, it brilliantly exploits the framework of its presentation. The white room is gradually obliterated over the course of the exhibition, the space changing measurably with the passage of time as the dots accumulate as a result of thousands and thousands of collaborators.

Interactivity became an important component of Kusama’s work in the mid to late 1960s, when her solo public performances expanded into participatory happenings. A product of the postwar Avant-garde, which almost immediately crossed over into popular culture, or at least underground counter culture, happenings developed as unconventional performance events increasingly relying on audience reaction and direct participation.