Yayoi Kusama Essay

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Yayoi Kusama’s work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the 20th century: minimalism and pop art. Plagued by mental illness as a child, and thoroughly abused by a callous mother, the young artist persevered by using her hallucinations and personal obsessions as fodder for prolific artistic output in various disciplines. This has informed a lifelong commitment to creativity at all costs despite the artist’s birth into a traditional female-effacing Japanese culture, and her career’s coming of age in the male dominated New York scene.
Her extraordinary career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentation, literary works, outdoor installations, sculpture, fashion, films, design and intervention within existing architectural structures, which allude at once to microscopic to macroscopic universe.
Yayoi Kusama was born on March, 22, 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan as the youngest of four children in a wealthy family. However, her childhood was less than idyllic or perfect. Her parents were the product of a loveless, arranged
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With the help of artist Georgia O’ Keeffe, who Kusama had started friendship with while still in Japan, she was able to secure exhibitions and also some sales, leading to interest in her work right from the start. Also, there was a fascination with the foreign artist herself, and she struck up a deep relationship with her fellow artist Donald Judd and the middle-aged assemblage artist Joseph Cornell who was also infatuated with Kusama, often writing her love letters and sketching her in the nude. Because of her anxiety and fear of sex, both relationships, while very close, were strictly platonic. Kusama and Cornell developed such a close bond (allegedly, he shared her sexual aversion and hated sex) that when he died in 1972, she began creating collages to honor his work and cope with his
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