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Updated: Apr 23

art polka dots
art polka dots

Learning about Yayoi Kusama

🎨 Yayoi Kusama

🎨 March 22, 1929, Matsumoto, Japan

🎨 Japanese painter

🎨 Pop art / Minimalism

🎨 Painting, Sculpture, Performance Art, and Installations


✅ Yayoi Kusama, Japanese artist who was a self-described “obsessional artist,” known for her extensive use of polka dots and for her infinity installations.

✅ She employed painting, sculpture, 

performance art, and installations in a variety of styles, including Pop art and Minimalism.

✅ Kusama began painting as a child, at about the time she began experiencing hallucinations that often involved fields of dots.

✅ Those hallucinations and the theme of dots would continue to inform her art throughout her career.

✅ 1948-1949 Kusama had little formal training, studying art only briefly at the Kyōto City Specialist School of Arts

✅ The desire to become an artist drove her to move in 1957 to the United States, where she settled in New York City.

✅ Before leaving Japan, she destroyed many of her early paintings.

✅ From 1977, by her own choice, she lived in a mental hospital. She continued to produce art during that period and also wrote surreal poetry and fiction, including The Hustlers Grotto of Christopher Street (1984) and Between Heaven and Earth (1988).

✅ Kusama returned to the international art world in 1989 with shows in New York City and Oxford, England

✅ Between 1998 and 1999 a major retrospective of her works was shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art

✅ In 2006 she received the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for painting. Her work was the subject of a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in 2012, and a traveling exhibition attracted record crowds at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., in 2017. That year she opened a museum dedicated to her work in Tokyo, near her studio and the psychiatric hospital where she lives.


Grand Orgy to Awaken the Dead / Mirror Room (Pumpkin)


Premium Imperiale (2006)

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