Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama
22.03.1929 (Matsumoto)

Nationality: Japanese


Well-known for her use of dense patterns of polka dots and nets, as well as her intense, large-scale environments, female Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama works in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, film, performance, and immersive installation. Typical is her use of psychedelic colours, patterns and repetition.

Born in Matsumoto on March 22nd, 1929, Kusama started to create art at an early age. Around the age of ten, she already begins using the polka dots in her work, a motive that would become her trademark and can be seen as representing the earth, the sun, or the moon. She received an artistic ‘Nihonga’ training in Kyoto, but became frustrated with the limitations of this distinctive Japanese style and started to grow interest in American and European avant-garde.

Kusama came to the United States in 1957 and quickly found herself at the epicenter of the New York avant-garde. Kusama has been associated with Abstract Expressionism and conceptual art and is considered a precursor of the pop art, minimalist and feminist art movements, having influence on contemporaries such as Andy Warhol (1928-1978) and Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929). After achieving fame through groundbreaking exhibitions and art ‘happenings’, she returned to her native country in 1973.

Kusama is one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan. However, she is also a published novelist and poet, and has created notable work in film and fashion design. Her designs for Louis Vuitton are a well-known example of this. Major retrospectives of her work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and Tate Modern, whilst in 2008 Christie’s New York sold one of her works for USD 5.1 million, a record for a living female artist.


Camera Austria, #71, 2000, p. 43 (NFM); 
October, #92, Spring 2000, p. 111 (NFM);
M. Ciuraj, 'Yayoi Kusama. Een Japanse kunstenares in het Nederland van de jaren zestig', Kunstlicht 27 (2006), nr. 4, p. 98-102;
Exhibition Paris (Centre Pompidou) 2011;
S. Moisdon, 'Yayoi Kusama. Des petits pois, des petits pois, toujours des petits pois...', Beaux Arts Magazine 328 (2011), oktober, p. 92-99;
Chadwick, W. (ed.): Mirror Images (1998) (NFM).


Exhibition Paris (Centre Pompidou) 2011;
"The Mirrored Years", Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 2008 (traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, 2009);
"Eternity – Modernity", National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (touring Japan), 2004–2005;
"KUSAMATRIX", Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2004 (traveled to Art Park Museum of Contemporary Art, Sapporo Art Park, Hokkaido); 
Artsonje Center, Seoul, 2001–2003);
Le Consortium, Dijon, 2000 (traveled to Maison de la Culture du Japon, Paris; Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark; Les Abattoirs, Toulouse; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna;
"Love ForeverYayoi Kusama,1958–1969", LACMA, 1998 (traveling to Museum of Modern Art, New York, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo), 1998–99;  
Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York, 1989; 
Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Fukuoka, Japan, 1987.




Museum of Modern Art, New York;
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles;
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis;
Tate Modern, London;
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam;
Centre Pompidou, Paris;
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

more about Yayoi Kusama

Artist's locations

view work by Yayoi Kusama

The Cosmos Osza

Related artists