Yayoi Kusama (Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art)
Yayoi Kusama's "All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins," 2016, coming to the DMA in October, is the museum's most recent acquisition. (Courtesy Yayoi Kusama Inc., Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore and Victoria Miro, London; photo Thierry Bal; © Yayoi Kusama)
Yayoi Kusama’s "Love Is Calling," 2013, was exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in the summer of 2016. The MFAH also owns an "Infinity Mirror Room." (© Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy David Zwirner, NYC; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; Kusama Enterprise)
Yayoi Kusama for Louis Vuitton, Fall 2012
A Kusama pumpkin resides in a private collection in Houston. Shown: landscape master Luciano Giubbilei, the designer of the grounds of the private retreat whose sculpture garden features the Kusama. (Photo Max Burkhalter)
Yayoi Kusama's "Dots Obsession," September 18 - November 2, 1997, at Rice University Art Gallery, was the artist's first installation in Texas.
Yayoi Kusama's "Accumulation," 1962-1964, at Dallas Museum of Art, one of two Kusamma works in the DMA collection prior to the acquisition of the new Kusama "Infinity Mirror Room." (© Yayoi Kusama)
Cindy and Howard Rachofsky at the Jackson Pollock Exhibition Opening Fête, Dallas Museum of Art. The power arts couple made the acquisition of the new Kusama possible for the DMA. (Tamytha Cameron Photography)
Yayoi Kusama’s life is the stuff of legends. Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, she lived and worked in New York City during the heady ’60s, where she painted, rubbed shoulders with Andy Warhol, was praised by Donald Judd, was the paramour of Joseph Cornell, and staged wild happenings, including a nude romp in Central Park, where she decorated the skin of fellow participants with her pervading dot imagery.
The artist then entered a period of obscurity. When she moved back to Japan in the ’70s, she admitted herself into the mental hospital where she still lives, albeit leaving daily to work in her nearby studio.
The Tokyo-based talent — who is nearing 90 — also created the most successful art-into-fashion fusion ever, with her exuberant dots and nets for Louis Vuitton in the Fall of 2012, tapped by then-artistic director Marc Jacobs.
Now Kusama touches down in Texas this coming season, via an exciting, epic, and important addition to the collection of the encyclopedic Dallas Museum of Art. On view October 1, 2017 through February 25, 2018, DMA visitors will have the chance to marvel and experience one of the artist’s Infinity Mirror Rooms. The creation, entering the museum collection thanks to the largesse of mega collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky — regulars on the Artnews 200 List — is particularly rare as it is devoted to pumpkins.
And it’s the artist’s first such mirrored pumpkin patch in more than a quarter century and the only one in North America; the last one dates from 1991, and was exhibited in the Japanese Pavilion at the 1993 Venice Biennale.
The DMA’s ultimate chamber filled with acrylic spotted gourds — All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins (2016) — was acquired from Kusama’s London dealer, Victoria Miro Gallery.
FYI: Kusama, who’s a bit of a late bloomer, is a fave among Texas museums and collectors. Her rediscovery can be partly credited to Rice University Art Gallery, where museum director/chief curator Kimberly Davenport first showed her work in 1997, mounting one of the artist’s first American exhibitions, a year before her MoMA retrospective.
Private Texas collectors who can boast of a Kusama include Houston’s Lester Marks — who owns an unusual pair of early dotted mannequins, which greet guests at his home’s entrance — and another hush hush Houston couple with a beautiful private garden that sprouts a Kusama pumpkin akin to the larger patch now owned by the Dallas Museum of Art — and set to soon be on view.