Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist who works across sculpture, installation, performance, painting, prints, and more. An autobiographical thread runs through her work, from her childhood growing up by a plant nursery and fantastical hallucinations, to her fear of and fixation with sexuality. Intertwining elements of Pop Art, Minimalism, and Conceptual Art, Kusama is of the most influential artists working today. Her work regularly sets records at auction, is featured in solo exhibitions, and can be found in countless collections worldwide.
Born in Matsumoto, Kusama studied nihonga (Japanese-style painting) at Kyoto University of the Arts for a year before finding inspiration in the American avant-garde. She staged performances in Matsumoto and Tokyo in the 1950s, presenting her first solo show in Japan in 1952. In 1958, she moved to New York City and established herself as a force of the avant-garde through her exhibits, happenings, and performances by the mid-1960s. The 1980s brought Kusama international recognition through solo exhibitions at Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. In 1993, she represented Japan at the 45th Venice Biennale before being featured in the 1988 one-woman show Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama. Jointly organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the exhibition toured internationally. Since then, she has been featured in major retrospective exhibitions that have traveled to some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, completed high-profile public art projects, and continued to produce and display new work. In 2017, the Yayoi Kusama Museum opened in Tokyo.