A Provocative Pumpkin – Yayoi Kusama


Provocative is a great word
to describe Yayoi Kusama and
her art.

At 88 Ms. Kusama's work is in 
the collections of museums around the
world.  Just last month The Yayoi Kusama
Museum opened up in Tokyo,Japan.

I was drawn to this piece because of
the pumpkin motif and it being October
where the pumpkin is associated with
fall, harvest and Halloween. 

I love pumpkins but I can't say I've come
across them used in this manner and to
this degree as part of an art installation
or even work of art. Equally invoking 
attention for me are the repetitive pattern 
of polka dots. The psychedelic quality 
to their arrangement reminds me of  
the 60's and 70's which is a big part of
Kusama's history as a creator.

Ms. Kusama was born in 1929 and had little
formal training, studying for a bit at the
Kyoto Specialst School for the Art. She began 
painting as a child around the same time 
she started experiencing hallucinations 
that often included visions of dots. 
Her family was wealthy however, Ms. Kusama
had an abusive childhood. 

She moved to  New York in 1958 being drawn 
to the experimental nature of the post war 
art scene. Ms. Kusama's showed large scale 
paintings, soft sculptures and environmental 
pieces using lights and mirrors often 
continuing with this idea of repetitive 
pattern and dot. Additionally, she became 
involved in creating a series of 
"happenings" that included body painting 
festivals,fashion shows and anti-war 
demonstrations. Her experience also includes 
shows with her contemporaries and friends
Claes Oldenburg, Andy Wharol and George Segal. 

Back to the pumpkin motif... I discovered
that this subject which is very prevalent in
later work is inspired from childhood where 
during WWII her family had a storehouse of 
pumpkins to which she developed a fondness.

Art is far reaching and Ms.Kusama's
work passes through several genres.
She is a rebel in my view interms of women
on the art scene showing herself to
be of equal stature to many of the more
well known men of this period.

To learn more about her work and 
museum click HERE

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