Here’s the Infinity Mirror Room the AGO is buying from Yayoi Kusama

The museum is crowdfunding to buy Infinity Mirrored Room – Let’s Survive Forever and has just under $900,000 to go as the campaign enters its final week


UPDATE (December 4): After extending the campaign by three days, the AGO secured the funds required to buy the mirror room. The crowdfunding campaign raised $651,180 from more than 4,700 donors and the rest came from the David Yuile & Mary Elizabeth Hodgson Fund, a fund that acquires contemporary art and is held within the AGO Foundation. The artwork will arrive in spring 2019.

Is Toronto’s love for Yayoi Kusama wavering?

With a week to go, the Art Gallery of Ontario still needs to raise just under $900,000 to buy an Infinity Mirrored Room from the Japanese pop artist.

The AGO launched a 30-day online crowdfunding campaign on November 1 to rustle up $1.3 million to complete the purchase, making it the first Canadian museum to undertake such a campaign to buy a contemporary artwork.

The AGO Foundation – the museum’s charitable arm – is covering $1 million of the costs to purchase the artwork so the crowdfund will go toward the remaining $1 million price tag plus $300,000 to cover shipping, publicity and staffing.

To stir interest, the specific room has been revealed early: Infinity Mirrored Room – Let’s Survive Forever, which features mirrored orbs suspended from the ceiling and arranged on the ground around a mirrored column in the centre. Able to fit four people at a time, it’s the biggest room Kusama has created in her five decades-long career.

The AGO is also partnering with global campaign Giving Tuesday (November 27), which promotes charitable giving over the American Thanksgiving weekend.

After the initial publicity, the campaign hovered around the $300,000 mark, but has seen a spike in donations with the room reveal. By midday on November 23, more than 3,100 people had helped the total reach more than $412,000 – or 32 per cent of the funds needed. Friday’s push was aided by the Schulich Foundation, which matched gifts received before noon.

Herman Lo, the AGO’s director of visitor experience, confirmed that the museum is obliged to purchase the work from Kusama no matter what happens.

“With seven days to go, lots of things can happen,” he says. “Perhaps a major donor can come in at the very end. We’re working on a lot of things. But I can definitely say on behalf of the AGO we’re committed to bringing the room so we’re not concerned at all.”

In addition to an ongoing on-site push, the AGO has more incentives planned to raise awareness in the final seven days.

CEO Stephan Jost told NOW earlier this month that Kusama’s New York-based dealer and studio extended a rare invitation to the AGO to acquire one of her mirror rooms after it hosted a successful run of her touring Infinity Mirrors show in the spring.

More than 165,000 visitors attended Infinity Mirrors, which included six mirror rooms as well as Kusama’s film, sculpture and painting. The touring show has helped propel 89-year-old Kusama to global superstardom, as the chance for visitors to snap selfies inside the rooms became part of the show’s appeal.

Check out a video of Let’s Survive Forever below:

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