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Displaying items by tag: yayoi kusama

The airport is not often a site for the calm contemplation of beautiful things. For most, it’s a place of extreme stress: the stress of securing your ticket, checking your bags, waiting in security, taking off your shoes, pulling out those liquids, locating your gate — and if you’re on time — purchasing overpriced snacks for your snack-less flight.

Or, if you’re like me before a recent transcontinental flight, you’re simply sprinting through the airport in your socks, praying you make to the gate in time.

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When the Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles officially opens on Sept. 20, visitors will be treated to a selection of more than 250 works of contemporary art culled from the private collection of founders Eli and Edythe Broad, museum officials will announce on Friday.

Though many of the pieces have been seen in public before, this will be the most in-depth display of art from the 2,000-piece collection, spotlighting more than 60 artists.

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After a year of world domination—having taken three of the top five spots in the most visited contemporary art shows of 2014—the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is due to bring her popular polka dot art to northern Europe. The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark will host “the first Kusama retrospective in Scandinavia,” says Marie Laurberg, the curator of the show.

"Yayoi Kusama: Towards Infinity" (September 17-January 24, 2016) will display works that have “rarely or never been shown since [Kusama] first made them.”

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Tuesday, 10 February 2015 12:25

Yayoi Kusama Retrospective Opens in Taiwan

From February 7 until May 17, the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan is hosting a retrospective of the works of the avant-garde Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, entitled “A Dream I Dreamed.”

More than 100 art works will be displayed at this exhibition, including paintings, sculptures, installations, and documentary film footage, along with "Infinity Mirrored Room," one of her most popular works.

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The Central and South American version of Yayoi Kusama's retrospective "Infinite Obsession" ended triumphantly in Mexico City last weekend, after a whirlwind tour, which took it from Rio to Brasilia and São Paulo (see South America Goes Dotty for Kusama). An estimated 2.5 million people visited the exhibition. To cope with the demand, Mexico City's Museo Tamayo stayed open for 36 hours straight during the last two days.

According to the "Art Newspaper," the 800 remaining tickets sold instantly, and Kusamaniacs pitched tents outside the museum in a desperate attempt to get in. A staggering 10,000 people made it to the show in the last weekend, with some visitors getting in only minutes before 10 pm on Sunday evening.

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Today, Frieze announced the 20 artists who will contribute work to its free sculpture park, on view for the run of both Frieze London and Frieze Masters from October 15 through 19. Curated by Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Director of Programs, Clare Lilley, the Regent’s Park display includes work by Yayoi Kusama, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Thomas Schütte, among others.

“Unique in the world’s art fairs, this year’s Frieze Sculpture Park is an intriguing and delightful breath of fresh air featuring artists from across three generations,” Clare Lilley said in a statement.

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What kind of pop artist “does battle at the border of life and death”? Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), who so described her art-making in 1961, suggests a Japanese Andy Warhol in terms of sheer energy, protean endeavors and fixation with publicity. But Warhol would never have professed such high purpose.

Indeed, the Kusama revealed by the current Whitney retrospective defies any single label. Despite her friendships forged in the ’60s with Warhol, Donald Judd, Claes Oldenburg and Joseph Cornell, her work leapfrogs categories like pop, minimalism and conceptual, revealing an honest vulnerability seldom seen in her male colleagues.

The museum’s front windows, crammed with the giant, bobbing spheres of her “Dots Obsession” (2009/2012), offer an instant dose of her signature polka-dotted installations. It’s only a foretaste, though, of the six decades of painting, sculpture, collage, film, performances, installations, fashion design and writing displayed or documented on the fourth floor.

Kusama’s “Infinity Net” paintings, her early nod to abstract expressionism, fill one gallery with countless swirls of white, subtly tightening and expanding across wide surfaces. She shifted gears with the “Accumulation” sculptures that appeared in some of the first exhibitions of pop art. These monochromatic works encrust various items—chairs, shoes, rowboat, ladder, hat, suitcase—with multitudes of stuffed fabric phalluses. The fidgety, potato-like protuberances have an awkward intimacy very foreign to pop and minimalism. A variation of these “Sex Obsession” sculptures, dubbed by Kusama the “Food Obsession” works, covers objects with macaroni.

Also on view is Kusama’s Self-Obliteration, her 1967 film showing her fiercely applying polka dots to animals and naked, carousing humans. But it took her “Anatomic Explosions” to put the self-styled “Priestess of Nudity” on the front pages. For these public performances, the artist hastily painted spots on nude dancers until the police showed up. The press releases and flyers combine ’60s breeziness with equal dollops of hucksterism and galactic purpose: “Become one with eternity. Obliterate your personality…take along one of our live bikini models.”

On a more poetic level, colorful mixed-media works on paper from the 1970s combine images of faces, insects and flowers with surprising delicacy. By this point, though, museum visitors may be wondering: How long can a soul publicly obsess about its own obsessions? Only so long, it seems; having returned to Japan, Kusama voluntarily entered a mental hospital in 1977, where she resides to this day.

Thankfully, it has been a nourishing environment. The vaguely biological forms of her large canvases and soft sculptures from the ’80s and ’90s glow with asexual sensuousness. Though frankly decorative, the seething, micro-dotted tentacles of “Yellow Trees” (1994) mesmerize. On the first floor, standing in for the enclosed installations produced since the ’90s is “Fireflies on the Water” (2002), from the Whitney’s own collection. Its coolness factor—with lights seeming to shimmer infinitely in all directions—-is not to be missed.

Pacing the exhibition are numerous photographs of the artist posed next to her work in matching attire. Apparently, notions of art and celebrity were as inseparable for Kusama as they were for Warhol. But Kusama’s motifs seem purer, and her emotional life—with joys and mortifications strangely fused—more accessible. One senses that when she appropriated, it was not for ironic effect but simply to cope. Hence her exploitation of the gestalt of the ’60s, and later, perhaps, of stylistic aspects of Cornell, Nevelson and Eva Hesse.

Today, Kusama is as much life force as artist—if we still distinguish the two—and uncannily predictive of the ascendancy of younger artists like Takashi Murakami. But her triumph illuminates a certain diminution, too, of our expectations of art.

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