About

Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto City, Japan in 1929. She studied Nihonga painting, a rigorous formal style developed during the Meiji period (1868–1912) to deflect the wholesale influence of Western art through the revitalization of the traditions of Japanese painting and their synthesis with aspects of Western art. Attracted by the experimental promise of the postwar international art scene, Kusama moved to New York City in 1958. As a young struggling artist in New York, Kusama produced her first astonishing Net paintings in 1959—vast canvases measuring up to 33 feet in width, entirely covered in rhythmic undulations of small, thickly painted loops. The inherent philosophical paradox of these paintings—that "infinity" could be quantified and constrained within the arbitrary structure of a readymade canvas—combined with the more subjective and obsessional implications of their process, distinguish these works from Minimalist abstraction, which would dominate the New York art scene several years later. The mesmerizing, transcendent space of the Nets was further reinforced by Kusama's own insistent psychosomatic associations to her paintings. She went on to develop other striking bodies of work, including the phallic soft-sculptures Accumulation, Sex Obsession, and Compulsion Furniture, which she later incorporated into full-scale sensorial environments. From 1967 she staged provocative happenings in various locations, from the New York Stock Exchange to Central Park to the Museum of Modern Art. Painting the participants' bodies with polka dots or dressing them in her custom-made fashion designs, she created risqué situational performances that merged her inner artistic world with external realities. In the early 1970s Kusama returned to Japan, where she began writing shockingly visceral and surrealistic novels, short stories, and poetry, including The Hustler's Grotto of Christopher Street (1983) and Violet Obsession (1998). Later, in her art, she began to revisit earlier themes, including the Infinity Net paintings and Accumulation sculptures. In recent years she has continued to invent ingenious embodiments of infinity in dizzying walk-in mirror rooms and freestanding sculptures, such as Passing Winter—hand-beveled mirrored cubes that yield an abyss of endlessly repeating self-portraits to their viewers. Following the success of her project for the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1993—a dazzling mirror room filled with pumpkin sculptures, like an artful pumpkin patch over which she presided in magician's garb—Kusama went on to produce a huge, vivid yellow pumpkin covered with an optical pattern of black spots as an outdoor sculpture. The pumpkin, like the infinity net, became a kind of alter ego for her. She has since completed major outdoor sculptural commissions, mostly in the form of brightly hued, monstrous plants and flowers, for public and private institutions including the Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukuoka, Japan; Benesse Art Site Naoshima, Japan; Matsumoto City Museum of Art, Matsumoto, Japan; Eurolille, Lille, France; and Beverly Hills City Council, Beverly Hills, California. Kusama's work is in the collections of leading museums throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate Modern, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Major exhibitions of her work include Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Kitakyushu, Japan, 1987; Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1989; "Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958–1969", Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1998 (traveled to the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1998–99); Le Consortium, Dijon, 2000 (traveled to Maison de la Culture du Japon, Paris; Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark; Les Abattoirs, Toulouse; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; and Artsonje Center, Seoul, 2001–03); KUSAMATRIX, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2004 (traveled to Art Park Museum of Contemporary Art, Sapporo Art Park, Hokkaido); Eternity's Modernity, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 2004 (traveled to the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto and other venues in Japan, 2004–05); and "The Mirrored Years," Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2008 (traveling to Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, 2009). Kusama lives and works in Tokyo.

#YayoiKusama

On Anselm Kiefer’s Photography

On Anselm Kiefer’s Photography

Sébastien Delot is director of conservation and collections at the Musée national Picasso–Paris and the organizer of the first retrospective to focus on Anselm Kiefer’s use of photography, which was held at Lille Métropole Musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut (Musée LaM) in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France. He recently sat down with Gagosian director of photography Joshua Chuang to discuss the exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Punctum at Gagosian, New York. Their conversation touched on Kiefer’s exploration of photography’s materials, processes, and expressive potentials, and on the alchemy of his art.

Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2024

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2024

The Summer 2024 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail of Roy Lichtenstein’s Bauhaus Stairway Mural (1989) on the cover.

The Art of the Olympics: An Interview with Yasmin Meichtry

The Art of the Olympics: An Interview with Yasmin Meichtry

The Olympic and Paralympic Games arrive in Paris on July 26. Ahead of this momentous occasion, Yasmin Meichtry, associate director at the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, Lausanne, Switzerland, meets with Gagosian senior director Serena Cattaneo Adorno to discuss the Olympic Games’ long engagement with artists and culture, including the Olympic Museum, commissions, and the collaborative two-part exhibition, The Art of the Olympics, being staged this summer at Gagosian, Paris.

Brooke Holmes, Katarina Jerinic, and Lissa McClure on Francesca Woodman

In Conversation
Brooke Holmes, Katarina Jerinic, and Lissa McClure on Francesca Woodman

Join Brooke Holmes, professor of Classics at Princeton University, and Lissa McClure and Katarina Jerinic, executive director and collections curator, respectively, at the Woodman Family Foundation, as they discuss Francesca Woodman’s preoccupation with classical themes and archetypes, her exploration of the body as sculpture, and her engagement with allegory and metaphor in photography.

David Cronenberg: The Shrouds

David Cronenberg: The Shrouds

David Cronenberg’s film The Shrouds made its debut at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in France. Film writer Miriam Bale reports on the motifs and questions that make up this latest addition to the auteur’s singular body of work.

Christo: Wrapped 1961 Volkswagen Beetle Saloon (1963–2014)

Christo: Wrapped 1961 Volkswagen Beetle Saloon (1963–2014)

Join Vladimir Yavachev, director of operations for the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation, as he discusses the genesis of the artist’s work Wrapped 1961 Volkswagen Beetle Saloon (1963–2014), which Gagosian presented at Art Basel Unlimited 2024.

Oscar Murillo and Alessandro Rabottini

In Conversation
Oscar Murillo and Alessandro Rabottini

In conjunction with Marks and Whispers, at Gagosian, Rome, Oscar Murillo and Alessandro Rabottini sit down to discuss the artist’s paintings and works on paper in the exhibition, as well as how the show emphasizes the formal, political, and social dimensions of the color red in Murillo’s work of the last decade.

BRONX BODEGA Basel

BRONX BODEGA Basel

On the occasion of Art Basel 2024, creative agency Villa Nomad joins forces with Ghetto Gastro, the Bronx-born culinary collective by Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao, and Lester Walker, to stage the interdisciplinary pop-up BRONX BODEGA Basel. The initiative brings together food, art, design, and a series of live events at the Novartis Campus, Basel, during the course of the fair. Here, Jon Gray from Ghetto Gastro and Sarah Quan from Villa Nomad tell the Quarterly’s Wyatt Allgeier about the project.

Donald Judd: Untitled: 1970

Donald Judd: Untitled: 1970

In this video, Flavin Judd, the artist’s son and artistic director of Judd Foundation, discusses a historic large-scale work by his father from 1970, ahead of its presentation at Art Basel Unlimited 2024.

A-POC ABLE ISSEY MIYAKE: An interview with Yoshiyuki Miyamae

A-POC ABLE ISSEY MIYAKE: An interview with Yoshiyuki Miyamae

Founded in 1998 by Issey Miyake, A-POC (“A Piece of Cloth”) set out to bring the development and production of fabric and garments into the future. Over the subsequent decades, A-POC has worked at the forefront of technology to realize its goals, and under the leadership of Yoshiyuki Miyamae—who has been with Miyake Design Studio since 2001—A-POC ABLE has engaged in a dynamic series of collaborations with artists, architects, craftspeople, and new technologies to rethink how clothing is designed and made. On the occasion of the line being made available in the United States for the first time, the Quarterly’s Wyatt Allgeier visited the brand’s flagship in New York to speak with Yoshiyuki about the A-POC process, as well as the latest collaboration with the artist Sohei Nishino.

Jordan Wolfson and Johanna Burton

In Conversation
Jordan Wolfson and Johanna Burton

In this video, Gagosian presents a conversation between Jordan Wolfson and Johanna Burton, Maurice Marciano Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The pair discuss Wolfson’s animatronic work of art Body Sculpture (2023).

Game Changer: Richard Marshall

Game Changer: Richard Marshall

Alison McDonald celebrates the life of curator Richard Marshall.

Cover of the Fall 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly magazine, featuring artwork by Damien Hirst

Gagosian Quarterly: Fall 2021 Issue

$20
Cover of the book Great Women Painters with dust jacket

Great Women Painters

$70