Yayoi Kusama at Des Moines Art Center, Iowa | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Yayoi Kusama at Des Moines Art Center, Iowa

“Stool (Detail),” 1963, by Yayoi Kusama (1929, Japan), Mixed media, Overall: 30 1/2 x 32 1/2 x 29 in, Gift of Hanford Yang, New York, Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines, Des Moines Art Center
(Courtesy: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections)

The Des Moines Art Center is highlighting the work of Yayoi Kusama in Blank One Gallery through July 22. This focused exhibition celebrates the Art Center’s collection of the artist’s work — four sculptures, and “Pumpkin (L),” 2014, the recent addition to the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.

The word “accumulation” appears often when describing Yayoi Kusama’s work, and is both a theme and a visual feature of her sculpture, paintings, installations, and prints. For over 60 years, Kusama has captured international attention with her obsessively repeated patterns, bright colors, and ability to transform everyday objects like furniture or pumpkins into surreal art. Her unique biography cannot be disconnected from her art, complicating her pop art visions with issues of feminism, mental illness, and celebrity.

Guided by her unique vision and unparalleled creativity, critically acclaimed artist Yayoi Kusama has been breaking new ground for more than six decades. In 1993, she became the first woman to represent Japan at the Venice Biennale, and last year, Time magazine named her one of the world’s most influential people.

Born in 1929, Kusama grew up near her family’s plant nursery in Matsumoto, Japan. At 19, following World War II, she went to Kyoto to study the traditional Japanese style of painting known as Nihonga. During this time, she began experimenting with abstraction, but it was not until she arrived in the United States, in 1957, that her career took off.

Living in New York from 1958 to 1973, Kusama moved in avant-garde circles with such figures as Andy Warhol and Allan Kaprow while honing her signature dot and net motifs, developing soft sculpture, creating installation-based works, and staging “Happenings” (performance-based events). She first used mirrors as a multi-reflective device in “Infinity Mirror Room — Phalli’s Field,” 1965, transforming the intense repetition that marked some of her earlier works into an immersive experience.

Kusama returned to Japan in 1973 but has continued to develop her mirrored installations, and over the years, she has attained cult status, not only as an artist, but as a novelist.

The exhibition is on view through July 22, 2018 at Des Moines Art Center, Blank One Gallery, 4700 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312, USA.

For details, visit: https://www.desmoinesartcenter.org/

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.

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