Yayoi Kusama is famously known for her “dots”. In her early work to present she’s been focused on these massive multitude of hallucinatory dots in patterns as well as sculptures, on everyday objects with painted growths, “soft sculptures”, constantly exploring the ideas of infinity and love.
Kusama left Japan for New York City in 1958 and spent several years entrenched in the art scene; she exhibited with everyone from Donald Judd to Andy Warhol, and was friendly with Georgia O’Keeffe.
Yayoi Kusama with one of her “Accumulation” pieces, 1966.
Kusama in Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show, installation, 1964.
Yayoi Kusama in her studio, 1963.
Narcissus Garden installation at the 1966 Venice Biennale.
The Anatomic Explosion happening held at the New York Stock Exchange, 1968.
Kusama’s exploration of the human body went beyond male genitalia and sex. She staged happenings around New York and in performances she called Self-Obliterations, she painted spots onto naked bodies. “Painting bodies with the patterns of Kusama’s hallucinations obliterated their individual selves and returned them to the infinite universe. This is magic.”
Horse Play happening, 1967.
Alice in Wonderland Happening, Central Park, New York, 1968.
Performance at the Board of Elections, New York. November 1968.
Yayoi Kusama published, designed and edited her own art periodical, “Kusama Presents an Orgy of Nudity, Love, Sexuality & Beauty”.
Yayoi opened a boutique, Kusama Fashion Company Ltd. where she sold her own mod clothing designs, many of which were made from see-through materials. Nudity was common in much of her work at the time, and the shop included private studios where models would have their bodies painted and photographed.
Bachelor happening staged in 1969.
Peep Show or Endless Love Show 1966.
“With just one polka dot, nothing can be achieved. In the universe, there is the sun, the moon, the earth, and hundreds of millions of stars. All of us live in the unfathomable mystery and infinitude of the universe. Pursuing ‘philosophy of the universe’ through art under such circumstances has led me to what I call stereotypical repetition.” -Yayoi Kusama
The Germ, 1952.
A Flower, 1952