|Kusama with "Love Forever" buttons, which she distributed at the opening of Kusama's Peep Show, a mirror-lined environmental installation at Castellane Gallery. New York, 1966. Photograph by Hal Reiff.
The exhibition Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958-1968 highlights the decade that Yayoi Kusama lived and worked in New York City. During ten prolific years Kusama produced an astonishing number of paintings, sculptures, collage, photo-collage, installations, performances, and even a film. Prescient of Pop, Minimalism, and Post-Minimalism, her work does not fit comfortably under any of these rubrics. It is unique, and if history has the ability to absorb and tame work that might once have been considered shocking, thirty years after its production, Kusama's art remains every bit as bizarre and as difficult as it was when she first made it.
Her work was praised by the influential critics of the day, like Donald Judd and Dore Ashton, collected by Judd and other peers like Frank Stella, and included in important international exhibitions. In 1973, ill and short of funds, Kusama returned for good to Japan leaving the bulk of her work behind. In the 30-year interim much of her work from her period in New York has been lost or destroyed and Kusama's contribution to American Art of the 1960s has fallen into obscurity. The 70-plus works in the exhibition, many of them on view for the first time since their creation in the 1950s and 1960s, include paintings, drawings, collages, and sculptures; a 30-minute experimental film by the artist; three precedent-setting environmental installations; and slide documentation of her provocative performance pieces.
This Web site is composed of documentary photographs from the artist's extensive archives. Photo-documentation served a dual purpose for Kusama: not only did it allow her to preserve work that was ephemeral, but it also provided an alternate medium with which to create. The following photographs are not only historical records but also artworks themselves.
Since her work strives to be all encompassing, no contradiction exists for Kusama between her self and her art. Any separation between art and life is obliterated. The daring she displays in her unusually raw form of invention is inextricable with the courage it has taken to make it against great odds.
The exhibition is organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Japan Foundation in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art, and supported by a generous grant from the Nippon Foundation. Transportation assistance was provided by Japan Airlines.
The New York showing is made possible by a generous grant from the Contemporary Exhibition Fund of The Museum of Modern Art, established with gifts from Lily Auchincolss, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, and Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder.
Additional support is provided by The Contemporary Arts Council and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.
The accompanying catalogue is supported in part by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Text for this subsite was compiled by Genevieve Devitt, Museum Intern.
© 1998 The Museum of Modern Art, New York