Yayoi Kusama – Obsessed with Polka Dots | Tate

Yayoi Kusama – Obsessed with Polka Dots | Tate


Making art was something that she seems to have done in opposition to her family but she also was innately talented. You look at the early drawings and they are completely exquisite. The challenges to become an accomplished artist in a Japanese provincial milieu must have driven this notion that, at some point, she would have to escape. She was on a train to stardom, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. She had a suitcase full of drawings and she set about selling herself. When she first came to New York, it was a man’s world. The art world was aggressively male. It was a cut-throat period I think it was very difficult to be a woman artist. She was taking away your ability to focus breaking all boundaries of space and the exhibitions that I had, in particular the ‘Peepshow’ that did the job. It was an octagonal room, it was painted black and there were openings where you could stick your head in. The ceiling of it set up a series of lights. The rhythm of that machine was, brrrrr, faster and faster. Up till Kusama, there were many artists from the Renaissance on, who were involved with perspective and infinity but it was all a fake because you knew, you were the viewer you were always aware that you were the master. That it was a painting that was encompassed by a frame and the artist was playing with space but it wasn’t enveloping you. To go back to Tokyo and to start from scratch again for Kusama was quite extraordinary because she wasn’t known there and she hadn’t been recognised. Clearly, the strains and stresses of life, the memories, forced her to withdraw. But what she’s always done, she has always managed that process incredibly well. Kusama is now living in a mental institution but, by day, she occupies across the street in a busy suburban neighbourhood of Tokyo a very well-appointed studio facility where she has a team of assistants. She has a space for painting, she has a space for a library, her archive and every morning she gets there and she’s the consummate professional and she works from nine till six. I think there’s a sort of managing madness about Kusama, which is so utterly sane which is really interesting. She’s used her trauma, she’s used these experiences in her past she’s been able to harness experiences that might drive other people insane to enormously productive ends. She’s an extraordinary person in that way.

100 thoughts on “Yayoi Kusama – Obsessed with Polka Dots | Tate”

  1. it is extremely disturbing and altruistic what passes by Art this days.  a three year old with ocd could easily fill any space with a bunch of dots.  Dress me up like a clown and have the museums around the world work hard to convice people this is art and it is Profitable instead of real art and that is what we get this woman and Andy Warhol terrible

  2. Just a opinion but for me, she doesn't look like a great artist, Is just a person that know's how to sell. Also this look's like a characters created for herself, in some other interviews, people close to her said that she as a young, traveled to New York searching fame and that was his greatest dream. My point is… try to evaluate her work, not her history.

  3. I just saw her mirror room exhibit a few days ago and ugh I love her so much the rooms were absolutely captivating. I would go again if I could

  4. Indeed I cannot imagine a more ideal setup for an artist than to have a studio across the street from the mad house where they live.

  5. Bein sharing this with my mom in hope that she will confront her own mental disorder and become self aware of it. Its hard when she denies it even when her disorder hurts the people around her.

  6. Maybe you should just let her speak her own language rather than having a white academic speaking FOR her and treating her like a specimen.

  7. Misleading title! Came here to see amazing polka dot art or designs by this woman who is meant to be obsessed by them, am I missing something here?

  8. 🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱💗

  9. Her accent speaking in Japanese feels very weird. First time hearing a Japanese speaks like she's cutting her vowels.

  10. She saves on rent by living in the mental institution, so she's able to pay for workspace and staff across the street!

  11. Your mom is sulloseto be your biggest supporter.alongside the fact that i dont get women..im want a son ill just leave it as that

  12. Es triste que se apoyen a gente sin talento como ella cuando hay muchas personas con muchísimo talento luchado por salir adelante. Lo que ella hace no debería de valer ni un centavo

  13. I made a clay sculpture and my teacher said my creation looked like Yayoi Kusama's dots that i dotted on my creation. And I got an A+. I didn't know who she was, but I searched her name and found out she's a great artist and I like her dots very much.

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