Yayoi Kusama is a contemporary Japanese artist famous for her installations and sculptures featuring repetitive dots, pumpkins, and mirrors.
Born in 1929, Yayoi Kusama studied painting in Kyoto before moving to New York in 1958. She knew no one, and faced sexism, racism, and lack of recognition, despite creating some of the most pioneering artworks of the ‘60s.
It wasn’t uncommon for Kusama’s hallucinatory paintings and installations— often shown in obscure galleries- to inspire her more high-profile peers (notably Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg) to make similar works, which they then exhibited to great acclaim in more established galleries.
In 1962, Kusama was included in a group show at Green Gallery in New York with some of the day’s most avant garde artists: Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, George Segal, and Andy Warhol. This exhibition was considered the first Pop art show in the United States.
In the 1970’s Kusama returned to Japan where she lived in relative obscurity until she represented Japan in the 1993 Venice Biennale.
Yayoi Kusama is one of the most loved living contemporary artists. Her recent surveys- in Copenhagen, Moscow, Washington and Los Angeles- consistently drew crowds so big that lines wrapping around the block lasted for weeks on end.
Her works can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, and on the Japanese art island, Naoshima.
Yayoi Kusama: All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins focuses the reflective chamber on a series of acrylic yellow gourds covered in black polka dots, one of Kusama’s frequently used symbols.
Visitors can step inside the mirrored space and fully immerse themselves in Kusama’s creation, becoming part of the art.
One sunny autumn day I spent a happy time in my garden with family members, photographing the last of the season’s pumpkin harvest, inspired by their colours, shapes and decorations of spots and blotches. This turned out to be a memorable day of playfulness and creativity, thanks in large part to the pumpkins. Maybe not quite a perfect day, but close.
References: artspace.com, Wikipedia.