All the exhibitions dedicated to Yayoi Kusama to see this year

One of the most popular names in contemporary art in recent decades, Yayoi Kusama and her work have become pop icons this year through a partnership with Louis Vuitton. And while she has been living a reclusive life for nearly 50 years, museums around the world are celebrating her with sold-out exhibitions. 

Yayoi Kusama is one of the most famous contemporary artists in the contemporary art world. Her magnetic, color-filled works have piqued the curiosity of an audience that has grown over the decades, as a result of major commissions and even successful collaborations.

Among them, the project carried out with Louis Vuitton in early 2023. After their first collaboration in 2012, this project brought the artist back into the spotlight with a collection dedicated to her famous polka dots. The works of the great Priestess of Polka Dots, as she has been called, hide a complicated past. A troubled life of abuse and rigid impositions.

Yayoi Kusama was born in 1929 in Matsumoto – a city located in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. She had a traumatic childhood due to the typical conservative family environment of a harsh and unsympathetic mother and an unfaithful father. 

Artwork by Yayoi Kusama, photo by Susanne Nilsson on Flickr

When she was ten years old, she started to be affected by psychological disorders including hallucinations and visions, which she gave vent to through drawings and creativity. In the late 1950s, she finally moved to New York where she began her artistic career, achieving great success.

In 1975, Yayoi Kusama returned to Japan to spread her art in her home country as well. However, the success was not immediately as expected and, due to severe depression, she checked herself into a clinic, where she still lives today.

Forgotten in the West countries for almost a decade, in the late 1980s and 1990s they rekindled their interest in her works, so much so that she represented Japan at the Venice Biennale in 1993.

Today, museums all over the world host her works. This year, a series of exhibitions – including one in Italy – want to celebrate her profundity and sensitivity. An artist who was able to transform traumatic events into vital energy in her art. 

Immagine di apertura: Visitor experiencing Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room—My Heart Is Dancing into the Universe (2018), part of the 2022 exhibition One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Photo by Matailong Du. Wood and glass mirrored room with paper lanterns, 119 5/8 x 245 1/8 x 245 1/8 in. (304 x 622.4 x 622.4 cm). Courtesy Ota Fine Arts and Victoria Miro, London/Venice. © YAYOI KUSAMA. Purchased jointly by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (Joseph H. Hirshhorn Purchase Fund, 2020), and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, with funds from the George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange.

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