Famous Impressionist Paintings by 'Yayoi Kusama'

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YayoiKusama

Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生 or 弥生, Kusama Yayoi, born March 22, 1929) is a Japanese artist and writer. Throughout her career she has worked in a wide variety of media, including painting, collage, soft sculpture, performance art, and environmental installations, most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colors, repetition, and pattern. A precursor of the pop art, minimalist and feminist art movements, Kusama influenced, and exhibited alongside, her contemporaries such as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and George Segal.
In 1957, she moved to the United States, settling in New York City, where she produced a series of paintings influenced by abstract expressionism. Switching to sculpture and installation as her primary media, Kusama became a fixture of the New York avant-garde during the early 1960s when she became associated with the pop-art movement. Embracing the rise of the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s, Kusama came to public attention when she organized a series of happenings in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots. Although largely forgotten[citation needed] after departing the New York art scene in the early 1970s, Kusama is now acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan, and an important voice of the avant-garde.
Kusama's work is based in conceptual art and shows some attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, Art Brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism, and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content. Kusama is also a published novelist and poet, and has created notable work in film, and fashion design. Major retrospectives of her work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art (in 1998), the Whitney Museum and the Tate Modern (in 2012), and the Hirshhorn Museum (2017). In 2006, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's Caucus for Art. In 2008, Christie's New York sold a work by her for $5.1 million, at the time the record price paid for a work by a living female artist. In 2015, the website Artsy named Kusama one of the Top 10 Living Artists of the year.
Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Nagano, into an affluent family of merchants who owned a plant nursery and seed farm, Kusama started creating art at an early age, and began writing poetry at age 18. Her mother was apparently physically abusive, and Kusama remembers her father as "...the type who would play around, who would womanize a lot". Kusama says that her mother would often send her to spy on her father's extra-marital affairs, which instilled within her a lifelong contempt for sexuality, particularly the male body and the phallus: "I don’t like sex. I had an obsession with sex. When I was a child, my father had lovers and I experienced seeing him. My mother sent me to spy on him. I didn’t want to have sex with anyone for years [...] The sexual obsession and fear of sex sit side by side in me."
When Kusama was ten years old, she began to experience vivid hallucinations which she has described as "flashes of light, auras, or dense fields of dots". These hallucinations also included flowers that spoke to Kusama. Patterns in fabric that she stared at coming to life, multiplying, and engulfing or expunging her, a process which she has carried into her artistic career, and which she calls "self-obliteration". She was reportedly fascinated by the smooth white stones covering the bed of the river near her family home, which she cites as another of the seminal influences behind her lasting fixation on dots.
When Kusama was 13 years old, she was sent to work in a military factory where she was tasked with sewing and fabricating parachutes for the Japanese army, then embroiled in World War II. Discussing her time in the factory, Kusama says that she spent her adolescence "in closed darkness" although she could always hear the air-raid alerts going off and see American B-29s flying overhead in broad daylight. Her childhood was greatly influenced by the events of World War II, and she claims that it was during this period that she began to value notions of personal and creative freedom.
She went on to study Nihonga painting at the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts in 1948. Frustrated with this distinctly Japanese style, she became interested in the European and American avant-garde, staging several solo exhibitions of her paintings in Matsumoto and Tokyo in the 1950s.[citation needed]
By 1950, Kusama was depicting abstracted natural forms in watercolor, gouache, and oil, primarily on paper. She began covering surfaces—walls, floors, canvases, and later, household objects and naked assistants—with the polka dots that would become a trademark of her work.
The vast fields of polka dots, or "infinity nets", as she called them, were taken directly from her hallucinations. The earliest recorded work in which she incorporated these dots was a drawing in 1939 at age 10, in which the image of a Japanese woman in a kimono, presumed to be the artist's mother, is covered and obliterated by spots. Her first series of large-scale, sometimes more than 30 ft-long canvas paintings, Infinity Nets, were entirely covered in a sequence of nets and dots that alluded to hallucinatory visions.

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