Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) Raised in Matsumoto and trained at the Kyoto School of Arts and Crafts in the traditional nihonga style of Japanese painting. Kusama’s work evolved and moved away from traditional painting after feeling restricted by the traditional practice of this painting style and finding inspiration in European and American avant-garde movements as well as American Abstract Impressionism. Kusama moved to New York City in 1958 where she was part of the New York avant-garde scene throughout the 1960s. Kusama received great recognition for her organization of a series of happenings events throughout New York City where she introduced her now famed polka dots.
Since 1963, Kusama has been installing her Mirror/Infinity rooms, which have been installed in museums and gallery spaces throughout the world. In 1966 Kusama participated in the 33rd Venice Biennale with her installation of Narcissus Garden. In the early 1970s the artist returned to Japan to manage a series of health issues. Following a lull in her recognition, Kusama’s popularity was reignited in the late 1980s and early 1990s after a series of retrospective exhibitions brought her work and her practice back into the limelight.
Kusama’s work continues to be an immersive experience for viewers that bring to the fore the accumulations, obsessions, and challenges Kusama has faced in her personal life as represented through her art. The artist’s bold and highly recognizable work can be found throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States, including collections such as The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; the Tate Modern, London, UK; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, and many more.