Celebrating Women’s History in Art: Yayoi Kusama

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Avant-Garde Painter, Sculpture and Novelist

Yayoi Kusama is an internationally renowned Japanese Avant-Garde artist known for her eye-opening artwork and performance art. Born and raised in Nagano Prefecture, she began using motifs of polka dots and/or nets in her paintings at the very early age of 10. Kusama’s early paintings were created using watercolors, pastels and oils; they even served as a way for her to escape neglect as a young child. She is also known for the portrayal of obsessive pattern repetition which seems to influence a large amount of her works and serves as a theme in others. These patterns are tied to the hallucinations she experienced which actually covered everything in her environments, allowing visions of this pattern-like imagery. Kusama then moved to the United States, specifically New York City, in 1957 in order to pursue a career as an artist. There she created more paintings and environmental sculptures that consisted of mirrors and electrical lights that displayed similar repetitive patterns. During the 1960’s, Kusama also became a public art figure in NYC by developing a reputation as a provocative participant in the Avant Garde of New York. She organized many events including body-painting festivals, anti-war demonstrations, fashion shows, film productions and even newspaper publications that went on to win prizes at the fourth international experimental film competition and the Maryland film festival. In 1973, Kusama returned to Japan where she continued to create and show artworks while also working on novels and anthologies. After reverting back to her original motifs of polka dots, Yayoi was asked to represent Japan in Biennale which ultimately gave her much fame in the international art industry.

 

Yayoi Kusama – “Infinite Obsession”
Yayoi Kusama – “Infinite Obsession”
Yayoi Kusama: “Infinity Mirrors: All the Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016”, exhibit at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden during February 23,2017 – May 14, 2017, Independence Avenue at 7th Street, SW Washington, DC.

Yoyoi Kusama’s most recent exhibit “Infinity Mirrors” contains six mirrored rooms that portray relentless reflections of patterns. When visiting the exhibition visitors may step in only 5 rooms and can only look (through a peephole) into the last room. In the room “All the Love I Have for the Pumpkins”, Kusama demonstrates a pumpkin motif that seems to be extremely important to her as it is not the first time pumpkins have popped up in her works. Her families business was in wholesaling which allowed for there to be an abundance of pumpkins available to the Kusama household. This led to an ongoing attachment to the abnormally shaped vegetable that she will continue to incorporate into future works. This exhibit is on display currently at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden from February 23, 2017 up until May 14, 2017 so be sure to visit in order to see these fabulous patterns of psychologically imagery.

 

Sources: yayoi-kusama.jpartnet.comsi.edu

Jazara Morales
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Jazara Morales is a Senior Music Merchandising Major with a minor in Accounting at Hofstra University. She aims to one day inspire others through her own production of music. Her favorite quote is “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style”