Yayoi Kusama: Open the Shape Called Love

31 January 2020 - 12 April 2020

Yayoi Kusama is one of the most admired of all contemporary artists. Her “Infinity Rooms,” mirrored and specially lit environments, have recently been a premier attraction for art lovers all over the world. This exhibition presents the distinguished collection of James Keith Brown ’84 and Eric Diefenbach to explore other aspects of her oeuvre, with a special concentration on the early works on paper of the 1950s, a full range of intimate “dot paintings” and “net paintings,” examples of her provocative sculpture and multi-media work, and one tabletop mirror box.

Click HERE to read the press release.

Click HERE to see publicity images.

Click HERE to listen to the radio commercial.

Guided Tours

Guided Tours of Yayoi Kusama: Open the Shape Called Love and Toriawase: A Special Installation of Modern Japanese Art and Ceramics. Free; no registration required.

Select Weekdays | 1:30 p.m.

February 5, Feb 14, Feb 20, Feb 26

March 5, Mar 13, Mar 18, Mar 26

April 3, Apr 8, Apr 9, Apr 10


2nd Friday ArtWalk
February 14, 2020 | 5 – 9 p.m.

See Yayoi Kusama: Open the Shape Called Love during our 2nd Friday evening hours! Throughout the night, experience Kusama-inspired modern dance performances choreographed by Killian Manning and screenings of Kusama’s 1967 experimental film Self Obliteration (23 mins).

Free; no RSVP required.

Book Discussion with Carolina Public Humanities
Friday, March 13, 2020 | 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Museum open until 9 p.m. for 2nd Friday ArtWalk

“The Convenient Spot: Patterns and Repetition in Japanese Art and Literature at the Ackland”
Register for a book discussion program with Carolina Public Humanities that pairs Yayoi Kusama: Open the Shape called Love with Sayaka Murata’s award-winning short novel Convenience Store Woman. The discussion of the book and a look at the art will be facilitated by UNC lecturer Yuko Kato and Ackland Director of Education and Interpretation Carolyn Allmendinger.
$30 per person (includes a copy of the book and light refreshments), Register HERE!

Dance in the Galleries: Kusama Pop-Up
Sunday, March 15, 2020 | 2 p.m.

An afternoon of pop-up dance performances inside of and inspired by Yayoi Kusama: Open the Shape Called Love, choreographed by Killian Manning.

Connect the Dots on Arts Everywhere Day
Friday, April 3, 2020

Experience Yayoi Kusama’s provocative and performative side as polka dotted pop-up activities infiltrate UNC’s campus during Arts Everywhere Day, a campus celebration of global arts.

Kids and Families

Family and Friends Sunday
February 23, 2020 | 2 – 5 p.m.

Inspired by Yayoi Kusama: Open the Shape Called Love and Toriawase: A Special Installation of Modern Japanese Art and Ceramics, choreographer Killian Manning has planned an interactive afternoon of site-specific, art-inspired dance in the galleries. Visitors of all ages will be invited to join dancers in movement and dance in response to the art on view.

Art Adventures
Select Saturdays | 10:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m.
Hands-on art-making classes for 6-9 year-olds; register at ackland.org

Saturday, February 8, 2020
Kusama-Inspired Tote Bags

10:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 14, 2020
Toriawase-Inspired Mobiles

Registration will open in February 2020.


The Patterned Screen: Rhythm and Repetition in Contemporary Asian Cinema
Co-sponsored by the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of English and Comparative Literature

Screenings held at Varsity Theatre | 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted*
Tickets $7 per person; free with UNC One Card

Monday, February 3, 2020
(Dir. Kon Satoshi, 2006, Japan)

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 | *Ackland Art Museum | 5:30 p.m.
Ackland Film Forum Talk: “Intermedial Feeling: How Kon Satoshi Animates the Self”
Thomas Lamarre (Middle Eastern and Asian Studies, Duke University)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
(Dir. Bong Joon-ho, 2009, South Korea)

Monday, March 16, 2020
The Grandmaster
(Dir. Wong Kar-wai, 2013, Hong Kong)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Syndromes and a Century
(Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2007, Thailand)


Yayoi Kusama: Open the Shape Called Love is supported in part by Bank of America.
Bank of America logo

Yayoi Kusama, Japanese, born 1929, Untitled, 1967, oil on masonite, 16 x 18 in. (40.6 x 45.7 cm). Collection of James Keith Brown ‘84 and Eric Diefenbach.