Yayoi Kusama's (b. 1929) work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: Pop art and Minimalism. Her 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’s work has been featured widely in both solo and group presentations. She presented her first solo show in her native Japan in 1952. 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 renewed widespread recognition in the late 1980s following a number of international solo exhibitions, including shows at the Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, both of which took place in 1989. She represented Japan in 1993 at the 45th Venice Biennale, to much critical acclaim. In 1998, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, co-organized Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958–1968, which toured to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1998-1999), and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1999).
More recently, in 2011 to 2012, her work was the subject of a large-scale retrospective that traveled 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. From 2012 through 2015, three major museum solo presentations of the artist’s work simultaneously traveled to major museums throughout Japan, Asia, and Central and South America. In 2015, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark, organized a comprehensive overview of Kusama’s practice that traveled to Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Helsinki Art Museum. In 2017-2019, a major survey of the artist’s work, Infinity Mirrors, was presented at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Seattle Art Museum; The Broad, Los Angeles; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia. Yayoi Kusama: Life Is the Heart of the Rainbow, which marked the first large-scale exhibition of Kusama’s work presented in Southeast Asia, opened at the National Gallery of Singapore in 2017 and traveled to the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Jakarta. In 2019, All About Love Speaks Forever, an exhibition "tailor-made" specifically for the Fosun Foundation, Shanghai included more than 40 works by the artist.
A comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work was on view at Gropius Bau, Berlin in 2021, and traveled to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2022. KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature was on view at The New York Botanical Garden in 2021. In Montreal, the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art, presented Yayoi Kusama: DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE from 2022 to 2023. The exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: My Soul Blooms Forever, was on view at the Qatar Museums, Doha from 2022 to 2023. One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection is presently on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC through Spring 2023. Tate Modern, London, is presenting Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms through June 11, 2023. At the M+ Museum in Hong Kong, a major retrospective of the artist's oeuvre, Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now, is presently on view. The retrospective will travel to Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain later in 2023. The Perez Art Museum Miami is currently presenting the exhibition Yayoi Kusama: LOVE IS CALLING. The presentation, Yayoi Kusama - You, Me and the Balloons will open at the Factory International, Manchester, England in the Summer of 2023.
In 2023, a commissioned mosaic by Kusama, A Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe (2022) was unveiled at the new Madison Concourse at Grand Central Station, New York and will remain on permanent view.
Kusama has been represented by David Zwirner since 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, Give Me Love, was held at David Zwirner, New York, in 2015. Subsequent solo shows of the artist’s work at David Zwirner, New York include Festival of Life, concurrently presented with Infinity Nets, in 2017; and EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE in 2019. In 2021, David Zwirner, Victoria Miro, and Ota Fine Arts jointly presented I WANT YOUR TEARS TO FLOW WITH THE WORDS I WROTE in London, Tokyo, and New York. In May of 2023, David Zwirner, New York will present the artist's sixth exhibition with the gallery.
Yayoi Kusama Museum, a museum dedicated to the artist’s work, opened October 1, 2017, in Tokyo with the inaugural exhibition Creation is a Solitary Pursuit, Love is What Brings You Closer to Art. EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE, the museum's tenth exhibition devoted to her work, is currently on view.
Work by the artist is held in museum collections worldwide, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; among numerous others. Kusama lives and works in Tokyo.
For the second time, Louis Vuitton has invited Yayoi Kusama to a new creative encounter, reawakening, evolving, and expanding on the pioneering initial exchange. Launched in January 2023, ten years after the first collaboration, the new Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama Collection brings the artist’s symbolic objects and hypnotic motifs to the Maison’s creations. Celebrating art, audacity, and craftsmanship, Kusama’s Painted Dots, Metal Dots, Infinity Dots, and Psychedelic Flower enliven the universe of Louis Vuitton.
Kusama shared the following message upon her visit to the Louis Vuitton pop-up stores in Omotesandō and Harajuku:
“I want you to love me
like you loved me
Together with me, please be well and work hard
to deliver the message of love,
world peace to all over the world
I wish everyone happiness.”
Learn more about Creating Infinity at Louis Vuitton.
MTA Arts & Design is pleased to announce a spectacular new artwork by Yayoi Kusama commissioned for Grand Central Madison, a new 700,000-square-foot Long Island Rail Road terminal below Grand Central Terminal along Madison Avenue between 43 and 48 Streets in Manhattan. Mosaic artwork by the acclaimed artist, titled A Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe (2022), enlivens the Madison Concourse of Long Island Rail Road's new eastside terminus.
"Yayoi Kusama's extraordinary mosaics for the new Grand Central Madison terminal is unlike any public work she has created before," said Sandra Bloodworth, Director, MTA Arts Design. "This new, flowing composition, originating from her extensive body of My Eternal Soul paintings spills energy and joy out into the Grand Central Madison passageway. The mural is a journey itself, inspiring incredible moments as you walk along the grand mosaic artwork."
Expanding upon Kusama's iconic My Eternal Soul series, the new glass mosaic artwork, located on the Madison Concourse level between 46 and 47 Streets, is an exploration of lines and forms, detailed with bold colors. At once abstract and figurative, the artwork highlights a variety of motifs for visitors to discover. They convey the messages of LOVE, UNIVERSE, PEACE, OWE TO ALL MANKIND, which are central to Kusama's oeuvre. She hopes that the work will bring joy for those who encounter it as they pass through the incredible new space.
Kusama began the My Eternal Soul series in 2009. The paintings in the series feature the signature allover qualities of her Infinity Net paintings and echo the obsessive, recurring geometries of her decades-long output. An exploration of form, subject matter, and space, the compositions combine abstract and figurative elements that allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes. A Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe offers viewers a continuous, flowing expanse that renews these familiar motifs and symbols from My Eternal Soul.
The permanent artwork, fabricated by Miotto Mosaics Art Studios, measures 120' W x 7' H, totaling approximately 875 square feet of glass mosaic. A Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe is a heartfelt gift to New York City by the internationally renowned artist. An accompanying poem written by Kusama speaks directly to all that will experience her artwork from near and far.
This is Yayoi Kusama.
I offer you a message of love, directly from my heart unto the universe.
May you all experience the true beauty of loving humanity.
Human life is beautiful.
My wish is to deliver this vision, with all that is my life, to the people of New York.
Read more about the installation in The New York Times.
Learn more at MTA Arts & Design.
November 20, 2022–March 1, 2023
The work of Yayoi Kusama has transcended two of the most significant art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: Pop and Minimalism. Her highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, poetry, film, fashion, design and interventions within existing architectural structures, which allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes.
My Soul Blooms Forever is the largest outdoor exhibition of its kind to take place in the Gulf region. The exhibition consists of monumental sculptures and installations throughout MIA Park and Al Riwaq, including recent work such as the giant Dancing Pumpkin (2020) and renowned works such as Narcissus Garden (1966/2022).
With a selection of major artworks, including a signature – Infinity Mirrored Room - Dancing Lights that Flew Up to the Universe (2019) – the exhibition offers an extraordinary opportunity to experience Kusama’s unique vision and unparalleled creativity.
Learn more at Museum of Islamic Art.
Comprising more than 200 works, including three new pieces, to be presented across various locations at the M+ museum in Hong Kong, Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now is the largest Kusama retrospective to be staged in Asia, outside of the artist’s native Japan. Open November 12, 2022 to May 14, 2023, the exhibition is co-curated by Doryun Chong and Mika Yoshitake and organized chronologically and thematically, spanning Kusama’s earliest work to her most recent output.
Yayoi Kusama: 1945 features a wide range of paintings, installations, sculptures, drawings, collages, moving images, and archival materials, and examines Kusama's practice as it developed in Japan, the United States, Europe, and beyond through six themes: Infinity, Accumulation, Radical Connectivity, Biocosmic, Death, and Force of Life.
The exhibition also presents three new works to audiences for the first time. Death of Nerves (2022) is a large- scale installation commissioned by M+. Installed in the Lightwell that connects the museum’s ground floor and the basement levels and draping down to the Found Space on the B2 level, the work can be viewed from multiple vantages throughout the M+ building. Dots Obsession—Aspiring to Heaven's Love (2022), presented in The Studio on the B2 level, is an ambitious immersive environment that includes one of the artist’s signature mirrored spaces. Two large sculptures titled Pumpkin (2022) will be available for public viewing in the Main Hall on the ground floor.
Accompanying the exhibition will be a catalogue, Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now, published by Thames & Hudson in collaboration with M+.
For more information about the exhibition and ticketing, go to M+.
July 23–August 29, 2022
Over the school summer holidays, Tate Modern invites visitors of all ages to help transform a blank white apartment into a sea of colorful dots. Yayoi Kusama’s The Obliteration Room opens on 23 July as part of UNIQLO Tate Play, Tate Modern’s free program of playful art-inspired activities for families. As well as having a chance to cover every available surface of the installation with bright circular stickers, families will also be able to create their own work of art to add to an ever-growing garden in the Turbine Hall.
The Obliteration Room is one of Yayoi Kusama’s most ambitious interactive works. Originally commissioned by the Queensland Art Gallery in Australia, the installation consists of a completely white space fully furnished with entirely white furniture. Visitors are handed a sticker sheet of colorful dots with which to leave their mark on this stark interior, which slowly becomes transformed into a riot of color. The work reflects Kusama’s enduring obsessions with accumulation, obliteration, and becoming one with the artwork.
July 6, 2022–January 15, 2023
In celebration of its fifteenth anniversary, the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art in Montréal is pleased to present Yayoi Kusama: DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Québec.
Open through January 15, 2023, the exhibition in Montréal will present three of her signature bronze pumpkin sculptures in different sizes, two new “peep-in” mirrored rooms, a grid of her vibrant My Eternal Soul paintings, as well as two striking Infinity Mirrored Rooms. The exhibition’s titular work, Infinity Mirrored Room – DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE (2019), is filled with hanging light globes that alternate colors before abruptly going dark. The glowing spheres slowly flicker back on, initiating again a cycle akin to life and rebirth. The exhibition will also include a reading room with a historical timeline of the artist’s life and career.
While admission is free, a reservation for timed entry will be required in order to ensure low waiting times and a pleasant passage through the exhibition.
Learn more at the PHI Foundation.
One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection
April 1–November 27, 2022
Building on the Hirshhorn’s blockbuster 2017 exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, the Museum presents a new exhibition of the Yayoi Kusama’s five works in their permanent collection—including three significant new acquisitions—affirming the artist’s legacy within the Museum’s collection and art history. Titled One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection, the exhibition is a tribute to the life and practice of this visionary artist.
One with Eternity will showcase the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection of works by Kusama, including two of her Infinity Mirror Rooms—her first and one of her most recent—that create a dazzling sensation of never-ending space. These transcendent rooms will be exhibited alongside an early painting; sculptures, including Pumpkin (2016) and Flowers—Overcoat (1964); and photographs of the artist. This exhibition honors Kusama’s distinctive vision of self-obliteration by exploring its development across media.
Among the additions to the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection is Kusama’s milestone, Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field (Floor Show) (1965/2017), the first of the artist’s immersive installations to transform the intense repetition of her earlier paintings and works on paper into a perceptual and participatory experience. The exhibition will also debut one of Kusama’s most recent rooms to Washington, DC, audiences.
Owing to the nature of the artwork, free same-day Timed Passes will be distributed daily at the Museum starting at 9:30 AM throughout the run of the upcoming exhibition. To learn more about the Museum’s Timed Passes, visit the Hirshhorn Museum.
David Zwirner, Victoria Miro, and Ota Fine Arts are pleased to announce that they will jointly present new My Eternal Soul paintings by Yayoi Kusama in London, Tokyo, and New York this summer. A dynamic installation of canvases will be unveiled at Victoria Miro in London on 4 June as part of a major exhibition of new paintings and sculptures. Later in June, exhibitions of My Eternal Soul paintings will be presented at David Zwirner, New York, on 17 June and Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo, on 19 June.
The paintings that will be on view are new examples drawn from the artist’s highly celebrated, ongoing My Eternal Soul series, which she commenced in 2009 and has worked on in a more intimate format since 2019. At once bold and intensely detailed and conveying extraordinary vitality, these works are joyfully improvisatory, fluid and highly instinctual. They abound with imagery including eyes, faces in profile, and other more indeterminate forms, including the dots with which the artist is synonymous, to offer impressions of worlds both abstract and figurative, microscopic and macroscopic. Their use of minute details and repetition—in terms of both shapes and brushwork—reflects the history of the obsessive gesture within Kusama’s practice, positioning this body of work as an important link between her past and present.
In April 2020, Kusama released a message to the world in the form of a poem of resilience and hope. It included the words, ‘In the midst of this historic menace, a brief burst of light points to the future. Let us joyfully sing this song of a splendid future. Let’s go …’ A full year later and Kusama wishes to share with the world these personal and poignant paintings that she has created throughout this most historic of times.
KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature is currently on view at The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York, until 31 October 2021. Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective opens at the Gropius Bau in Berlin on 23 April 2021 and will be presented until 15 August 2021. Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms opens this spring at Tate Modern in London.
April 23–August 15, 2021
Focusing primarily on the development of the artist’s creative output from her early paintings and accumulative sculptures to her immersive environments, Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective offers an overview of the key periods in her oeuvre, which spans more than 70 years. The exhibition includes a newly realized Infinity Mirror Room.
Watch a walkthrough of the exhibition led by curator Stephanie Rosenthal.
April 10–October 31, 2021
A major exhibition of work by Yayoi Kusama is on view at The New York Botanical Garden through October 31, 2021. Titled KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, this presentation explores the artist’s lifelong engagement with nature, and includes multiple installations, from signature mirrored environments and organic forms, to polka-dotted sculptures of flowers and pumpkins, paintings, and a participatory greenhouse installation that will be transformed over the course of the exhibition. Also on display are sketchbooks demonstrating an early fascination with the natural world that continues to inspire Kusama’s work.
Today, with the world facing COVID-19, I feel the necessity to address it with this message:
A MESSAGE FROM YAYOI KUSAMA TO THE WHOLE WORLD
Though it glistens just out of reach, I continue to pray for hope to shine through
Its glimmer lighting our way
This long awaited great cosmic glow
Now that we find ourselves on the dark side of the world
The gods will be there to strengthen the hope we have spread throughout the universe
For those left behind, each person’s story and that of their loved ones
It is time to seek a hymn of love for our souls
In the midst of this historic menace, a brief burst of light points to the future
Let us joyfully sing this song of a splendid future
Embraced in deep love and the efforts of people all over the world
Now is the time to overcome, to bring peace
We gathered for love and I hope to fulfil that desire
The time has come to fight and overcome our unhappiness
To COVID-19 that stands in our way
I say Disappear from this earth
We shall fight
We shall fight this terrible monster
Now is the time for people all over the world to stand up
My deep gratitude goes to all those who are already fighting.
Revolutionist of the world by the Art
From Yayoi Kusama
Each year, FIAC Hors les Murs invites an artist to imagine a specific project for the Place Vendôme, which provides both powerful inspiration and an exceptional framework for contemporary creation. Like a jewel set in stone, built in perfect classical symmetry, the Place Vendôme exemplifies creation, excellence, and savoir faire.
For the 2019 installation, Yayoi Kusama expands on several of the most recognizable motifs of her visual language: the pumpkin, the polka dot, and the inflatable. For Kusama, the repetitive expression of forms reaching to the infinite is a key part of her aesthetic approach, as are her versatility and virtuosity in making these motifs in different media and for different contexts. Kusama has incorporated inflatables in her work for the past twenty years, but her proposal for Place Vendôme is by far the largest work of this type she has proposed to date. With this project, Kusama extends her imagery into the architecture and landscape, encouraging an engaged viewing from all angles.
Yayoi Kusama wants to share her message: ‘I would be pleased to show my art in Place Vendôme, such an important and beautiful historical place, and further wish to convey the message of love and peace of my art to the people of Paris and the world.’
October 14–October 21, 2019
Yayoi Kusama has conceived a major new public work by for Place Vendôme, Paris, as part of FIAC Hors les Murs, 2019. Co-presented by Victoria Miro, Ota Fine Arts, and David Zwirner, Life of the Pumpkin Recites, All About the Biggest Love for the People (2019) is installed near the Vendôme Column. The work expands on several of the most recognizable motifs of Kusama’s visual language—the pumpkin, the polka dot and the inflatable—and is the artist’s largest inflatable sculpture to date.
Due to high winds in Paris this week, Yayoi Kusama's Life of the Pumpkin Recites, All About the Biggest Love for the People, 2019, presented as part of FIAC Hors les Murs 2019, has had to be taken down from Place Vendôme. FIAC, Victoria Miro, Ota Fine Arts and David Zwirner thank all those who visited the work. We are also grateful to the City of Paris for enabling the presentation as well as to Mirabaud, sponsor of FIAC Hors les Murs Place Vendôme, and CSIG for their generous support of this project.
September 24, 2019–February 7, 2021
ICA Boston is to present LOVE IS CALLING, an installation by Yayoi Kusama that debuted in Japan in 2013, and was presented in a solo exhibition at David Zwirner the same year. The largest of Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms, this work stands as one of the artist’s most immersive, kaleidoscopic environments to date. It is composed of a darkened, mirrored room illuminated by inflatable, tentacle-like forms—covered in the artist’s characteristic polka dots—that extend from the floor and ceiling, gradually changing colors. A sound recording of Kusama reciting a love poem in Japanese plays continuously. Written by the artist, the poem's title translates to Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears in English. Exploring enduring themes including life and death, the poem poignantly expresses Kusama’s hope to spread a universal message of love through her art.
In addition to LOVE IS CALLING, this show will feature a focused presentation drawn from the ICA’s collection. Titled Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art After Kusama, it will offer insight into the development of Kusama’s work and its influence on contemporary art.
Last presented at High Museum of Art the major traveling exhibition Infinity Mirrors was the first institutional survey to explore the evolution of Yayoi Kusama's immersive infinity rooms. Following its debut at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., the exhibition traveled throughout the United States and Canada. Infinity Mirrors included an unprecedented six infinity rooms, as well as installations, sculpture, and large-scale paintings, many of which were making their United States debut.The exhibition traveled to Seattle Art Museum (June 30–September 10, 2017), The Broad in Los Angeles (October 21, 2017–January 10, 2018), and the Art Gallery of Ontario (March 3–May 27, 2018), and Cleveland Museum of Art (July 9–September 30, 2018).
Read the exhibition announcement in the New York Times.
In a review of the show for The Seattle Times, Gayle Clemans described Kusama’s work as “cathartic and concrete, universal and specific, infinitely appealing and intimately personal.”
Video courtesy of The Guardian
July 1–September 3, 2018
First presented as an unofficial installation and performance at the 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966, Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden (1966–present) came to the Rockaways in New York for the third edition of Rockaway!, a free annual arts festival. The work, which is composed of more than one thousand stainless steel spheres, was last shown in 2016 as part of a solo exhibition at The Glass House in Connecticut, where the spheres floated freely on the surface of a pond.
Curated by MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach, the site-specific installation occupied an abandoned train garage in Fort Tilden, a decommissioned military base on the beach. Biesenbach told The New York Times that the work "will look very, very different than before." The exhibition was free and open to the public Fridays through Sundays, 12 to 6 PM, as well as Wednesday, July 4, and Monday, September 3 (Labor Day).
For its original presentation in Venice in 1966, Kusama staged Narcissus Garden—then made from plastic spheres—on the lawn outside the Italian Pavilion. Clad in a gold kimono, the artist stood among the spheres with signs reading "Narcissus Garden, Kusama" and "Your Narcissism for Sale." She offered the spheres to the public for sale for 1,200 lire (approximately $2) each in what is seen as an important moment anticipating the artist’s public performances in New York during the late 1960s. As the critic Catherine Taft writes in Yayoi Kusama, a major monograph recently re-released by Phaidon, "Infinite repetition and the multiplication of space as an act of erasure is the underlying approach to all of Kusama’s mature installations." Narcissus Garden, which has been shown around the world since the artist began revisiting her early installations in the late 1990s, achieves this effect through the polished silver surfaces of the spheres, which mirror their surroundings in a multitude of changing reflections. At Fort Tilden, this quality is also being invoked to reflect on the history of a former military site as well as the damage caused in the area by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Artnet predicted that this summer presentation of the work would draw even bigger crowds than last year’s edition of Rockaway!, recalling the 75,000 visitors to Festival of Life, Kusama’s 2017 solo show at David Zwirner, New York, which featured an infinity room with stainless steel balls.
Yayoi Kusama Book Launch and Film Screenings, Plus David Zwirner Books’ Surfside Pop-Up
Preview Screening: Friday, August 31, 8:30 PM
There was a free outdoor preview screening of Kusama – Infinity, the new feature-length documentary by Heather Lenz about Kusama’s legendary life and work, at Amagansett Square.
Book Launch: Thursday, September 6, 6–8 PM
New York | Dover Street Market
Advance copies of Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life were featured as part of the NYFW Open House at Dover Street Market New York. The Open House draws a wide and influential crowd to the store for an evening of art, fashion, and culture. Dover Street Market is the exclusive retailer of the publication in New York City until its general release on September 25.
Film Screening: Thursday, September 7, Various Times
New York | Film Forum
Kusama – Infinity screening at Film Forum movie theatre.
Pop-Up: Through Sunday, September 16
Amagansett | Pilgrim Surf + Supply
The David Zwirner Books summer pop-up store was installed at Pilgrim Surf + Supply in Amagansett, New York. Copies of the forthcoming David Zwirner Books publication Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life were exclusively available in Long Island here.
Image: Yayoi Kusama drawing in Kusama - Infinity, directed by Heather Lenz. © Tokyo Lee Productions, Inc. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Viewers joined documentary filmmaker Heather Lenz and curator Marian Masone for a special screening of Lenz’s 2018 documentary Kusama – Infinity, hosted by Victoria Miro during Art Basel.
Premiered in the US Documentary Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Kusama – Infinity is a feature-length documentary exploring the full span of Yayoi Kusama’s career, from her early life in Japan to the fifteen years the artist spent in New York, starting in 1958, to her return to her native country and the later international recognition of her work.
The Los Angeles Times reports "Kusama – Infinity tells the story of contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, who moved to New York City and created ‘avant-garde innovations’ inspired by the 1960s American political and social revolution. Writer and director Heather Lenz shows how Kusama faced racism and sexism to become a world-renowned artist." The documentary is scheduled to play at a series of festivals across the United States this summer.
The screening was followed by a Q&A with Lenz and Masone.
Saturday, June 16, 8 PM
Stadtkino Basel Klostergasse 5 Basel 4051, Switzerland
May 12–September 9, 2018
Life Is the Heart of a Rainbow traveled to Museum MACAN in Jakarta from Queensland Art Gallery at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, where it contributed to record attendance figures for the museum in 2017 (November 4, 2017–February 11, 2018). In Brisbane, the exhibition was accompanied by Kusama's Narcissus Garden (1966/2002) in the Watermall at Queensland Art Gallery, and the interactive installation The Obliteration Room (2002–ongoing) in the Children's Art Centre at the Gallery of Modern Art. The exhibition was initially shown at the National Gallery Singapore, where it was the first major museum presentation of the artist's work in Southeast Asia (June 9–September 3, 2017).
Life is the Heart of a Rainbow spanned seven decades of Kusama's artistic practice and included 120 works, some being shown for the first time. The exhibition featured paintings from the artist's most recent series, My Eternal Soul, as well as sculptures, videos, and installations, including immersive mirrored infinity rooms.
Curated by Russell Storer, Senior Curator at the National Gallery Singapore, with Adele Tanhis, the exhibition was organized by the National Gallery Singapore in collaboration with Queensland Art Gallery.
March 3–July 22, 2018
A major retrospective of Yayoi Kusama’s work was presented in the artist’s hometown of Matsumoto. Featuring 180 works spanning different media and dating from the 1930s to the present day, Yayoi Kusama: All About My Love was the artist’s fourth and largest show to date at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art. A solo exhibition by Kusama marked the museum’s inauguration in 2002, and was followed by two further shows—The Place for My Soul in 2005, and Eternity of Eternal Eternity in 2012. An installation by the artist titled The Place for My Soul has been on permanent display at the museum since it opened.
Kusama was born and spent the early part of her life in Matsumoto in Japan’s Nagano prefecture, where her parents owned a seed nursery. It was there that she first created the distinctive motifs of dots and netlike patterns which have remained consistent throughout her career. As the artist recalls in her autobiography, Infinity Net, “Deep in the mountains of Nagano, working with letter-size sheets of white paper, I had found my own unique method of expression: ink paintings featuring accumulations of tiny dots and pen drawings of endless and unbroken chains of graded cellular forms or peculiar structures that resembled magnified sections of plant stalks.”
Kusama moved to New York in 1958, aged twenty-nine, and spent seventeen years there before returning permanently to Japan in 1975. The artist is based in Tokyo, where the Yayoi Kusama Museum opened in October 2017 with the inaugural exhibition Creation Is a Solitary Pursuit, Love Is What Brings You Closer to Art, featuring her recent series of paintings My Eternal Soul. The exhibition was on view through February 25, 2018.
Commissioned for the NGV Triennial, Flower Obsession (2017) revisits the origins of Yayoi Kusama’s art which she traces back to her childhood. As she describes, “One day, after gazing at a pattern of red flowers on the tablecloth, I looked up to see that the ceiling, the windows, and the columns seemed to be plastered with the same red floral pattern. I saw the entire room, my entire body, and the entire universe covered with red flowers, and in that instant my soul was obliterated.… This was not an illusion but reality itself.”
The inaugural NGV Triennial in 2017 is an exhibition of contemporary art and design that presents current ideas, practices, and technologies in art, design, architecture, fashion and performance. The Triennial features the work of more than one hundred artists from over thirty countries. It includes established, mid-career, and emerging artists and designers with themes of the Body, Change, Movement, Time, and the Virtual. The current triennial challenges visitors to consider new directions in art and design: immersive interactive digital environments that respond to our presence and movement; collaborative design projects that explore the connection between design, production, community, and sustainability; works of art that bridge places, cultures, and histories; and new ways of looking that raise questions about how we think and experience the world.
From her studio in Tokyo, Yayoi Kusama recorded a personal message for visitors to her exhibitions at David Zwirner in New York, the city in which she lived for more than 15 years between 1958 and 1975. The Japanese artist expresses her gratitude to both the gallery and the public, and hopes the works on view afford a sense of hope and love.
October 1, 2017–February 25, 2018
The Yayoi Kusama Museum has opened in Tokyo with the inaugural exhibition Creation Is a Solitary Pursuit, Love Is What Brings You Closer to Art. The exhibition presents 45 works including 16 paintings from the artist's recent series My Eternal Soul.
The museum dedicated to Kusama’s work is being directed by Tensei Tatebata, president of Tama Art University in Tokyo and director of the Saitama Museum of Modern Art in Tokiwa. There will be two exhibitions each year and one floor devoted to installations of the artist's mirrored "infinity rooms;" the top floor houses a reading room and an archive.
The New York Times reports, "the museum, a five-story building designed by Kume Sekkei, was completed in 2014, but Ms. Kusama, 87, remained quiet about its purpose. (She perhaps alluded to the project in an interview in February with The Washington Post when she was asked what had been the highlight of her career. 'It's still coming,' Ms. Kusama said. 'I'm going to create it in the future.')" A further article in The New York Times describes "large red polka dots and mirrors in the elevators and a bulbous mosaic pumpkin sculpture on the top floor."
Critically acclaimed exhibitions of Kusama’s work are currently traveling through Asia and America. Life is the Heart of a Rainbow travels to Queensland Art Gallery at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane on November 4 following its presentation at the National Gallery Singapore, where it was the first major museum presentation of the artist's work in Southeast Asia (June 9 - September 3, 2017).
Infinity Mirrors, the major museum survey which includes an unprecedented six infinity rooms as well as installations, sculpture, and large scale paintings, travels throughout the United States and Canada through February 2019.
September 23–December 2, 2017
Four paintings from Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Net series were presented at Judd Foundation in New York this Fall. The exhibition was curated by Donald Judd's son Flavin Judd, and recalled his father's friendship with Kusama and support of her work, including the early Infinity Net paintings. In an ARTNEWS review of Kusama's first solo exhibition in New York at the artist-run Brata Gallery in 1959, Donald Judd wrote, "Yayoi Kusama is an original painter. The five white, very large paintings are strong, advanced in concept and realized . . . The effect is both complex and simple."
The exhibition was accompanied by public programs exploring Judd's relationship with his contemporaries in New York from the 1960s through the 1980s.
Read more in The Art Newspaper.
Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction
April 15–August 13
Three works by Yayoi Kusama were included in the critically acclaimed group exhibition Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection, the exhibition featured a 1951 ink on paper work that is a precursor to her Infinity Nets series, an oil on canvas work entitled No. F (1959), and a collage of gelatin silver prints by the artist dating from 1962.
Works by gallery artists Anni Albers and Ruth Asawa were also included in the exhibition.
Read more: a review of the exhibition by Holland Cotter in The New York Times
The Philip Johnson Glass House presented a unique installation of Kusama's Narcissus Garden on its grounds in New Canaan, Connecticut. First exhibited at the 1966 Venice Biennale, the work is created from thousands of mirrored steel spheres that, in this iteration, floated on the surface of the Glass House pond, moving with the wind and water's currents. A pumpkin sculpture was also installed on the grounds of the historic landmark site.
The exhibition was organized by Irene Shum, Curator and Collections Manager at the Glass House, to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Philip Johnson's birth and the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Glass House site to the public.
During September 2016, the special installation Dots Obsession – Alive, Seeking for Eternal Hope was also on view. The Glass House itself was covered in red dots, transforming the structure into a signature Kusama infinity room.
Irene Shum spoke with The New York Times about the installation. Read more in Vogue and Co.Design.
Kusama was named the world's most popular artist in 2015 by various news outlets, based on annual figures reported by The Art Newspaper for global museum attendance. Over 2 million people visited her retrospective Infinite Obsession, which traveled throughout South and Central America.
A major museum retrospective of Yayoi Kusama's work traveled through Europe and to the United States in 2011–2012. The exhibition surveyed the full range of the artist's career, including early paintings made prior to Kusama's move to New York in 1957 to soft sculptures, Infinity Net paintings, mirrored infinity rooms, and the series of works begun in 2009 titled My Eternal Soul. Initially presented at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the exhibition travelled to the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Tate Modern in London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
"The first works we see are rather beautiful, surreal watercolours from the 1950s, which occasionally echo Klee and Miró," wrote Mark Hudson in a review of the exhibition at Tate Modern for The Telegraph; in the Infinity Net paintings, Hudson continues, "endlessly repeated semicircular brushstrokes are covered in veils of thinner paint, creating a weblike effect which extends Pollock's idea of the 'all over' composition, with the sense that we are seeing just a fragment of a potentially endless work." For Holland Cotter, who wrote about the final presentation of the retrospective at The Whitney Museum of American Art for The New York Times, "there is no doubt about her heroic, barrier-crashing accomplishment . . . Her Infinity Net paintings and Accumulation sculptures are deservedly classics of global stature; her Japanese work of the 1940s and early 1970s are treasures still underknown."