Tokyo museum dedicated to Yayoi Kusama opens

02nd October 2017

Japan is now home to a new museum dedicated entirely to the avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama, it has been reported. 

Located in the Toyko suburbs among unremarkable apartment blocs, the building that spans five storeys attracted much interest even before its opening on Sunday October 1st. 

According to the Guardian, with such a global following and a rife enthusiasm surrounding the opening of the museum, the building’s owners have had to restrict the number of visitors, with only 50 people admitted four times a day for intervals of 90 minutes.

With Kusama’s works of art  spanning six decades, there is certainly no shortage of works of art within the museum for visitors to see. Kusama’s exhibition of abstract expressionism work includes her newest masterpiece - a sculptured bulbous pumpkin that rests on the museum’s rooftop gallery. 

In addition to this, Kusama’s has dozens of her paintings on show, as well as an “infinity room” that is filled to the brim with glowing pumpkins. 

The museum’s open spaces and white canvas provide a minimalist backdrop for her colourful paintings that line the walls of the two main gallery spaces. 

In the past, Kusama’s work has featured at London’s Tate Modern, Paris’ Pompidou, and Washington’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. But now she has her very own space to showcase her works dating as far back as the late 1950s, when she was part of the same New York art scene that birthed Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe.

However, it has only been in the last two decades that Kusama’s work has gained attention and admiration from across the world. In 2014, she was titled the world’s favourite artist, while one of her paintings sold for £5.3 million.  

Akira Tatehata, the museum’s director, commented: “We want people to come and look at great art, but also to learn something about Kusama the person.”

Kusama also says that even at the age of 88, she has no intention of slowing down the work she produces. “From age five or ten, I’ve been painting, from morning to night. Even now, there isn’t a single day when I’m not painting,” she said. 

“I still see hallucinations even now. Dots come flying everywhere – on my dress, the floor, things I’m carrying, throughout the house, the ceiling. And I paint them.

“In every way, I want to pour my love into humanity, and for a wonderful society without war. I want to live every day with the longing to fight for mankind.”

Kusama claims that O’Keefe was her biggest influence. In 1957, she corresponded heavily with her, triggering her obsession with repetition and multiplication. Kusama also organised many interesting artist installations, including those featuring casts of naked people covered in polka dots. 

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