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Yayoi Kusama

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March 22, 1929 (95)

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Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist primarily known for her avant-garde sculptures and installations, as well as her vibrant pattern work. She first gained international recognition in the 1960s with her body of work that explores concepts such as infinite space and self-obliteration.

One of Kusama’s most celebrated series is the “Infinity Mirrors” rooms. These immersive installations feature mirrored walls and colorful lights, creating the illusion of infinite space and allowing the visitor to become part of the artwork. Additionally, she has explored various mediums ranging from painting and sculpture to performance art and fashion design. Her “Pumpkin” sculptures and polka-dot motifs are instantly recognizable and have been exhibited globally.

Kusama has an extensive history of collaborating with individuals from various fields. In the realm of fashion, she partnered with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, creating a collection that showcased her famous dot patterns. In the art world, she has collaborated with Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras, and Joseph Cornell. She has also been part of projects with musicians such as David Bowie and Yoko Ono. In the realm of literature, she has collaborated with the likes of Eileen Myles and Mary Gaitskill, broadening her interdisciplinary approach. Her influence has extended to pop culture figures like Lady Gaga and George Takei, who have openly expressed their admiration for her work.

Over the years, Kusama has received numerous honors that reflect her impact on the contemporary art scene. In 2006, she received the National Lifetime Achievement Award from the Order of the Rising Sun in Japan. She has also been the subject of several major retrospectives, including those at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Tate Modern. In 2012, her artwork “White No. 28” sold for more than $7 million at a Christie’s auction, setting a record for a living female artist at that time.