Yayoi Kusama, 1939 / Image courtesy: Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / © Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc. This week I finally went to the Whitney Museum to visit the much talked about exhibition on Japan's living legend and artist, Yayoi Kusama,( 1929) “the Princess of Polka Dots”. The avant garde artist and her polka dots are popping up everywhere around New York City including the Louis Vuitton flagship, and an outdoor installation at Pier 45. Throughout her career she has worked in a wide variety of mediums, including painting, collage, sculpture, performance art and environmental installations, most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colors, repetition and pattern.
Early on in her childhood Kusama claims to have been plagued with hallucinations and severe obsessive thoughts. She spoke of once staring at a red, patterned tablecloth and then looking up to find the entire room covered with the same pattern. Soon she found that even her body was covered with this pattern, and she felt as if she was disappearing. These visions have shaped Kusama’s work, giving us a look into a universe that only she can see and where her persona is the epicenter. Major retrospectives of her work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and Tate Modern, whilst in 2008 Christies New York sold a work by her for $5.1 million, a record for a living female artist.
Fireflies on the Water (2002). Whitney Museum of American Art, with funds from the Postwar Committee and the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee and partial gift of Betsy Wittenborn Miller 2003. © Yayoi Kusa
The Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama Collaboration
Recently Kusama has collaborated with Marc Jacobs on a line of Louis Vuitton products injecting her colorful polka dot patterns into luxury fashion. Marc Jacobs, who previously collaborated with artist Takashi Murakami, said he wanted to work with Kusama because he admired her endless energy and obsessive drive to depict her endless, hypnotic world.
Louis Vuitton NY Flagship