Polka Dot Explosion!

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January 28th 2010
Published: March 14th 2010
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The City Gallery in Wellington. Decorated in polka-dots.
The City Gallery is Wellington's home for contemporary art. It is known for its very modern and sometimes surprising (read: shocking) exhibits. We saw a fantastic exhibit today. It is by a 81-year old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

Ms. Kusama has an obsession with color and repetition. She creates not only drawings (polka dots, lots and lots of polka dots, are a favorite) but entire experiences, like entire rooms that have a distinct Alice in Wonderland feel to them.

Two of our favorites:
- A room decorated entirely in black polka dots on a yellow background: ceiling, floor, walls. The polka dots also cover large inflated balloons in weird shapes that hang from the ceiling and rise from the floor. A nearby room is the inverse: yellow polka dots on a black background. It is very trippy.

- A small room where 1-2 people can enter for about 15 seconds at a time (a museum staff person closes the door behind you and watches the time on her stopwatch). Inside the room it feels like you are floating in outer space. You stand on a small raised platform in the middle of the room, surrounded by water. The
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Nautical themed art on the waterfront - Wellington.
walls and ceilings are mirros and there are hundreds (by reflection, thousands) of points of colored light. The overall effect is dizzying and very, very cool. Like floating in outer space.

If you ever have a chance to see her work, drop everything and do it.

Again, we can't put web links is this blog but here is a way to get a feel for Ms Kusama's work: go to Google Images and type in "yayoi kusama".

And, by the way, Ms. Kusama is a fiesty octogenarian who likes to wear bright pink wigs. Angelique is inspired.

We're about to leave Wellington, after 2 weeks. We can't fit all of the wonderful things about Wellington into a short blog entry, so email us if you're planning a trip to Wellington and want to know more.

Here are a few fun things we did/saw/ate during our stay in Wellington:
- Wandered through the beautiful (nearly vertical, at times) Botanical Gardens. We especially liked the very fragrant and very pretty rose garden.
- Attended an entertaining and informative (free) tour of the Parliament buildings. We now know much more about how the New Zealand government works. One funny factoid - several members of Parliament insist on having comfy wool/possum fur throws on their parliament chairs. No sore bums for them!
- Visited the nearby wine country (Wairarapa) which is centered around the quaint town of Martinborough (including a visit to a divine chocolate shop with unusual chocolates - e.g. dark chocolate with chili-lime)
- Gobbled up yummy "Afghan" cookies. We still don't know what is in them but we think afghan cookies are a combination of chocolate, walnuts and oats?. Very popular treat in New Zealand.
- Visited a few of the top restaurants. Wellington has the highest concentration of excellent restaurants, cafes and bars in the country
- Ran along the waterfront on the excellet jogging path.
- Watched legions of AC/DC fans come and go. AC/DC were in town during our stay (two shows) and the city was beside itself with excitement. We looked into purchasing tickets for the Saturday night show but, alas, the scalpers wanted more money than we were willing to pay.

Next stop: a road trip down the South Island, with Angelique's mum in tow.


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