Yayoi Kusama at the Whitney

Yayoi Kusama at the Whitney

I have been meaning to write about this for weeks, though I confess to a certain reluctance about people and things I cannot pronounce. But I have been practicing: Yayoi Kusama. Just like it’s spelled really. I don’t know why I go so worked up about it. I was walking […]

I have been meaning to write about this for weeks, though I confess to a certain reluctance about people and things I cannot pronounce. But I have been practicing: Yayoi Kusama. Just like it’s spelled really. I don’t know why I go so worked up about it. I was walking down 5th Avenue minding my own business this summer when the Louis Vuitton window display gave me a start. With my razor-sharp powers of deduction I said to myself: These are not your grandmother’s steamer trunks.

Yayoi Kusama in window of Louis Vuitton
Yayoi Kusama in window of Louis Vuitton

If you’re in New York and haven’t seen her exhibit at the Whitney, this is the last week. Closes Sunday. It is bound to be a hoot, and I hate I missed it, but I’m back here on the ranch. The day I was in the neighborhood the museum was closed. I walked up to the door and stared in the window, like the way a dog looks at you when you are eating something out of the refrigerator and don’t give her any. (Yes Stella, I’m talking to you.)

Yayoi Kusama in window of Louis Vuitton
Yayoi Kusama in window of Louis Vuitton

If you want to read up on it, here is the Whitney’s newsletter for this week.

And because I am lazy, here is the Whitney’s description of the exhibit: “Well known for her use of dense patterns of polka dots and nets, as well as her intense, large-scale environments, Yayoi Kusama works in a variety of media… Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama came to the United States in 1957 and quickly found herself at the epicenter of the New York avant-garde. After achieving fame through groundbreaking exhibitions and art “happenings,” she returned to her native country in 1973 and is now one of Japan’s most prominent contemporary artists. This retrospective features works spanning Kusama’s career.”

If you are wondering what the epi-center of the avant-garde looked like back then, it must have been something like this:

Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama a while ago

There is also an installation called “Fireflies on the Water,” which looks very cool. The Whitney’s website has a video of it, if you’re feeling avant-garde-ish.

Yayoi Kusama - Fireflies on the Water
Yayoi Kusama - Fireflies on the Water

Back to the windows.

Yayoi Kusama
A lot of little Yayoi Kusamas

Now I have to say I do not look at pictures of Ms. Kusama and think “barrel of monkeys.” But I could be completely wrong about that. She sure has a barrel of monkeys in her imagination.

Yayoi Kusama today
Yayoi Kusama today

Oh, and about Louis Vuitton. They’re a sponsor of the exhibitions both here and in the UK, and there is a Yayoi Kusama Collection. You probably saw that coming.

Yayoi Kusama Collection at Louis Vuitton
Yayoi Kusama Collection at Louis Vuitton
Yayoi Kusama Collection at Louis Vuitton
Yayoi Kusama Collection at Louis Vuitton
Yayoi Kusama Collection at Louis Vuitton
Yayoi Kusama Collection at Louis Vuitton

My fashion coverage has been spotty lately…

Just in – a few of my with-it readers told me about the CBS Sunday Morning piece that ran recently. See Mo Rocca’s interview here. It’s actually fascinating. She lives voluntarily in a mental hospital. Lord…. And just now another reader wrote with a post of an installation Kusama did with children in Australia, and the reader, Maureen, wants to try it in her town of Tarboro, NC. Would be a first for Tarboro, I’d say. Here it is, via ThisIsColossal.com:

13 Comments

  1. Love the fireflies…thanks for sharing. I’ll have to have a closer look.

  2. Frances,
    I am not very Avant-garde, but I love the dots and the Louis Vuitton collection. Looks like great fun to me, just wish she would smile!
    xo, Lissy

  3. The installation on 57th And Fifth was riveting !!!
    And Yayoi Kasama was just the shot in the arm Louis Vuitton needed this season, to shake things up. I know I had to go in to see what was going on, they invited me to the party…I thought they were pretty charming….and the ambience of the store was great……LONG LIVE ART..and poke dots ..for that matter ! xlee

  4. I wondered what those tentacles were in the LVH shop window in Paris when we were there last week. Sadly they didn’t put Anthea off her shopping! Neither did the queue to get in!

  5. So interesting! There was a clip about Yayoi Kusama on CBS Sunday Morning…just missed getting up in time for church…and it is on line. Love knowing more about her and sad I missed the Exhibit. Thanks!

  6. Cbs sunday morning ran a piece on her

  7. Thanks for sharing an interesting story I would’ve otherwise missed. Love the artist! Seems to me dots work no matter what we do with them or where we apply them.

    • Thank you, Dessie. And her story is also touching. She had an unhappy childhood, apparently, and I take it has a tough time of it now. She says the dots make her feel happy. I say whatever works!

  8. Renee KELLEHER

    Hi there neighbor…SYV and NY! Next time you take a walk down 5 th Avenue, give me a heads- up and I will join you! I was there and photographed the wonderful exterior display at LV. As a collector of things polka-dot-y for years, this really caught my eye. Now I know the rest of the story! Thanks!

  9. LA County Museum of art has a beautiful and quiet white net painting, the first one I ever saw of hers. It’s a revelation.

  10. Saw the piece on YK on CBS Sunday Morning and my first thought was “I have never met a polka dot I didn’t love!”…maybe a ruffle too. xox cam
    Oh and what was that lucious Ben Moore green you so love? Katie doing up a 1834 farmhouse in Charlotte, Vermont sans decorator and wants a lovely green.

    • Cam, thank you so much so good to hear from you. I can’t keep the name of that green in my head to save my life. I think it is Fuji or Kiwi or something like that. Let me check on it and get back to you. I just looked it up for someone else… xox f

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