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“Infinity Mirrors” at the Cleveland Museum of Art: The Connection to Mental Illness

Posted on 02/22/18

“Infinity Mirrors” at the Cleveland Museum of Art: The Connection to Mental Illness

From the Executive Director, Lori D’Angelo, Ph.D.

The Cleveland Museum of Art (our University Circle neighbor) is set to host an exhibition that will surely be a blockbuster—it has sold out quickly in other major cities. “Infinity Mirrors” by living Japanese artist (one of the world’s greatest) Yayoi Kusama, age 88, will be at CMA July 7 – September 21, 2018.

What most don’t know is that Yayoi Kusama lives with mental illness. In 1952, a visitor to Kusama’s first solo show, the late Shiho Nishimaru, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Shinshu University in Matsumoto, got to know Kusama. He presented a paper on her at a psychiatric conference that year, “Genius Woman Artist with Schizophrenic Tendency.”

In an interview for Psychiatric News (September 14, 2017), Kusama said” “Psychiatry was not as accepted in my youth as it is now and I had to struggle on my own with the anxiety, to say nothing of the visions and hallucinations that at times overwhelmed me.”

After decades of living in the United States, Kusama returned to Japan in 1973 and voluntarily entered the Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill in Tokyo in 1977. She still lives there today.

This spring, the executive director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Mary Giliberti, wrote a blog about “Infinity Mirrors” and how this very special exhibition allows us to reflect on the struggles of those with mental illness and celebrate the joy, hope, and beauty that people can bring out of their experiences. Here is Mary’s blog: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/From-the-CEO/April-2017/Infinity-Mirrors-Blockbuster-Beauty

Enjoy (and get your tickets early)!

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