The Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama cames back to the city that never sleeps to open her exhibition in the Whitney Museum and for a collaboration with the iconic Louis Vitton.
Born in Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan in 1929 she started creating her art when she was young and staged various solo exhibitions of her paintings in her birth city and Tokyo, but tired of the Japanese style, she decided to move to New York in 1957. She found her place soon enough in the avant-garde art scene of the city, influencing Andy Warhol (in fact, she claims that he stole her ideas, when they were neighbors) and Claes Oldenberg and gaining fame with her groundbreaking happenings and exhibitions.
The “happenings” occurred in NYC landmarks like Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park and often involved nudity and polka dots. She looked for maximum exposure and she protested (she wrote an open letter to Richard Nixon offering to have sex with him if he would stop the Vietnam war) against the Vietnam war and in favor of the homosexuals (In 1968, Kusama presided over the happening Homosexual Wedding at the Church of Self-obliteration in New York).
But under intense psychological pressure, she returned home in 1973 and in 77 checked in a mental hospital in Tokyo where she lives today. But she didn’t stop working, in fact she became of the most prominent contemporary artist in Japan. And now Yayoi Kusama is back in New York City for the exhibition of her retrospective.
“…a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to infinity.” – Yayoi Kusama
Her work based in conceptual art, minimalism, surrealism and infused with autobiographical sexual power is now on view (until Sep. 30) in The Whitney Museum. The exhibition, her first NYC retrospective in 15 years, has traveled to London, Madrid and Paris in 2011 before its arrival on the final destination.
The retrospective reveals her prolific carrier in astonishing variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film, performance and immersive installation and also includes archival publications: photographs, posters, letters, films, and even sketchbooks.
“This is the best moment of my life,” Yayoi Kusama told Whitney Museum Director Adam Weinberg
After emerging from the inside of the Whitney, don’t forget to check out her installation outside on Pier 45 of the Hudson River Park, a playful and daring art installation (we can be reminded of Angel Orensanz’s daring and interactive installations in New York City) called Guidepost, that has her signature polka dots in red and white.