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.
Currently on view at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (through September 11, 2016) is a comprehensive overview of Kusama’s practice, including works that span the full length of her career. The show was first presented at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark, followed by the Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway, and will travel to the Helsinki Art Museum later this year.
Kusama’s earliest outdoor installation Narcissus Garden is currently on display at Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut (through November 30, 2016).
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.
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 presented new works at David Zwirner, New York, on view May 9 to June 13, 2015.
Kusama was recently 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.
From top: WITH ALL MY LOVE FOR THE TULIPS, I PRAY FOREVER, 2011 © Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; KUSAMA Enterprise; Photo by Gautier Deblonde