Yayoi Kusama's work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: pop art and minimalism. Her extraordinary and highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures, which allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes.
Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Kusama briefly studied painting in Kyoto before moving to New York City in the late 1950s. Since her first solo show in her native Japan in 1952, the artist's work has been featured widely in both solo and group presentations. In the mid-1960s, she established herself in New York as an important avant-garde artist by staging groundbreaking and influential happenings, events, and exhibitions. Her work gained widespread recognition in the late 1980s after a number of international solo exhibitions, including shows at the Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England, both taking place in 1989. She represented Japan in 1993 at the 45th Venice Biennale to much critical acclaim.
A museum dedicated to the artist's work will open in October 2017 in Tokyo.
Opening October 21, 2017 at The Broad, Los Angeles will be Infinity Mirrors, a major survey of Kusama’s work. The show was first on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., followed by the Seattle Art Museum, and will tour through 2019 to Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; and High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia.
The National Gallery of Singapore recently hosted Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of the Rainbow, marking the artist’s first major survey of her work in Southeast Asia. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, where it will travel to in November 2017.
Previous major touring surveys include those organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2000); National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2004); and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2008). Her work was the subject of a large-scale and well-received retrospective, which traveled from 2011 to 2012 to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In 2015, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark organized a comprehensive overview of Kusama's practice, including works that span the full length of her career. The show traveled to Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Helsinki Art Museum. In 2017, The National ArtCenter in Tokyo hosted My Eternal Soul, a solo exhibition featuring over 130 paintings from the artist’s series of the same title, which she began in 2009, as well as works that span her entire career.
Kusama joined David Zwirner in early 2013. The gallery's inaugural exhibition in 2013 with the artist, titled I Who Have Arrived In Heaven, spanned all three spaces at West 19th Street in New York. Her second gallery solo show in 2015 presented new works at David Zwirner, New York.
Kusama was named the world's most popular artist by various news outlets, based on annual figures reported by The Art Newspaper for global museum attendance in 2014. Her exhibitions were the most visited worldwide that year, with three major museum presentations simultaneously traveling through Japan, Asia, and Central and South America—all of which all drew record-breaking attendances at every venue.
Beginning in January 2012 and continuing until October 2014, Yayoi Kusama: Eternity of Eternal Eternitytoured to prominent institutions in Japan. Museums included The National Museum of Art, Osaka; The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama; Matsumoto City Museum of Art; Niigata City Art Museum; Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art; Oita Art Museum; The Museum of Art, Kochi; Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto; Akita Senshu Museum of Art; and the Matsuzakaya Museum, Nagoya.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Obsession was seen by more than two million people along its two-year tour through Central and South America. Consisting of over one hundred works created between 1950 and 2013, it opened in June 2013 at Malba – Fundación Costantini, Buenos Aires and traveled to the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro; Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Brasília; Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; and the Fundación CorpArtes, Santiago.
Yayoi Kusama: A Dream I Dreamed, a major solo museum exhibition encompassing over one hundred recent works traveled through Asia from July 2013 through August 2015. The show was first displayed at the Daegu Art Museum in Korea, followed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai; Seoul Arts Center; Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan; and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung.
Work by the artist is held in museum collections worldwide, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; amongst numerous others. Kusama lives and works in Tokyo.