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 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.
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). In 2011-2012, 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.
Yayoi Kusama: Cosmic Nature is currently on view at The New York Botanical Garden through October 31, 2021. Also in 2021, a major solo exhibition of the artist’s work will open at the Gropius Bau, Berlin. Yayoi Kusama: LOVE IS CALLING was on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston in 2019-2020.
A museum dedicated to the artist’s work, Yayoi Kusama Museum, opened October 1, 2017 in Tokyo with the inaugural exhibition Creation is a Solitary Pursuit, Love is What Brings You Closer to Art. In 2021, the museum presented its seventh exhibition featuring the artist’s work, entitled Yayoi Kusama: THE VISION OF FANTASY THAT WE HAVE NEVER SEEN IS THIS SPLENDOR.
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 was held at David Zwirner, New York, in 2015. Two concurrent solo exhibitions of work by the artist across three gallery spaces in New York—Festival of Life at 525 and 533 West 19th Street in Chelsea and Infinity Nets at 34 East 69th Street on the Upper East Side—were on view in 2017. EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE, which was on view at the gallery’s New York location in 2019, marked the artist’s fourth show with David Zwirner.
Work by the artist is held in museum collections worldwide, including the 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 Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; among numerous others. Kusama lives and works in Tokyo.