Trip the Light Fantastic with MFAH's New Cosmic Journey Through Time and Space
Last year's Yayoi Kusama exhibit was the epitome of cool. The Instagrammer's dream had us clamoring for those highly coveted and timed spots inside the polka-dotted and mirrored stalactice/stalagmite cave of Love Is Calling and the incandescent, but fleeting, fireflies of Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity.
So how does the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, top last summer's blockbuster? It's another light show for sure, but the comparisons end there. "With Kusama, it was instant. That is what Kusama wanted you to have," says Alison de Lima Greene, the Isabel Brown Wilson Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the MFAH and organizing curator of "Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest and Worry Will Vanish."
"With Rist, she admires Kusama profoundly and will be the first to say so. But her own aesthetic is for a slower, more temporal experience," says Greene. It's also an embracing environment, with pillows on the floor so visitors can set up camp and watch thousands of hanging LED lights change color and rhythms.
Greene tells us that, for a similar show in Europe, feather beds were provided for visitors. "In America, feather beds are not as common and in Houston, the last thing you want to be is in a big warm quilt in the summer. We changed it be be more compact."
Pixel Forest Transformer is a 2016 collaboration with lighting designer Kaori Kuwabara. It's also a recent acquisition for MFAH, funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund, though the installation viewed by Houston audiences will be unique.
"We’re very lucky that the artist is here to work with us. She is very much a collaborator. Several people from her studio are here," says Greene. "Although this work has been shown elsewhere she’s very actively engaged at making it special and unique to the architecture of Cullinan Hall. We’re going to have a large curtain in front of the hall to control the natural light; a deep forest green."