The art museum of Yayoi Kusama, the world-renowned avant-garde artist representing Japan, opened in a corner of Tokyo’s Shinjuku area in the autumn of 2017. Below are the highlights of that museum!
Who is Yayoi Kusama?
Yayoi Kusama is an avant-garde artist and novelist who was born in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, in 1929. She experienced visual and auditory hallucinations from a young age, leading her to the creation of pictures with net and polka-dot patterns.
She moved to the U.S. in 1957 and later established her status as an avant-garde artist, showcasing various works that include net paintings, soft sculptures, and installations using mirrors and lights. Overcoming a series of obsessions, she discovered an artistic philosophy called “self-obliteration” through the compulsive repetition and multiplication of a single motif.
Since then, she has been holding exhibits in museums all over the world. Yayoi Kusama is gaining global acclaim, as evidenced in her being chosen as the “most popular artist of 2014” by the Art Newspaper, which specializes in art in the U.K.
Portrait of Yayoi Kusama (C)YAYOI KUSAMA
What is the Yayoi Kusama Museum?
The Yayoi Kusama Museum was founded by Yayoi Kusama and is operated by the General Incorporated Association, YAYOI KUSAMA FOUNDATION. It aims to promote the spread of Kusama’s art and contribute to the development of art in general by showcasing her works and materials.
Days open: Thursdays – Sundays, national holidays
Hours: 11:00 am – 05:00 pm
※ The museum may be closed during exhibition changes, building maintenance periods, and the year-end holidays. Please check the latest information through the “Calendar” on the official homepage in advance.
Exterior view of the YAYOI KUSAMA MUSEUM Photo Credit: Kawasumi-Kobayashi Kenji Photograph Office
Exhibitions to be Held Twice a Year
Kusama’s works will be exhibited twice a year at this museum. The exhibitions will run under the concept of conveying to the world the message of “world peace” and “love for humanity” that Kusama has repeatedly promoted through her works. They want to accustom a lot of people to contemporary art by holding events like lectures and gallery talks led by the curator.
WOMEN WHO WENT SIGHTSEEING TO THE UNIVERSE 2017 194×194cm (C)YAYOI KUSAMA
PUMPKINS SCREAMING ABOUT LOVE BEYOND INFINITY 2017 (C)YAYOI KUSAMA
Structure of the Museum
The museum is in a 5-story building that is marked by the white polka dots on the entrance (as of April 2018). The 1st floor houses the shop corner where guests can purchase merchandise, while the 2nd to 4th floors are the galleries. The 5th floor houses a space for displaying publications in which guests can browse the artworks of Kusama, as well as an outdoor space featuring artworks and installations.
1F Museum Exterior Photo Credit: Shintaro Ono (Nippon Design Center, Inc.)
5F Rooftop Gallery Installation View (C)YAYOI KUSAMA
The museum enforces a system where a maximum of 70 people will be allowed inside for 90 minutes at a time, with guests required to reserve a time slot for a specific date in order to ensure that they can observe and tour the museum in a safe and pleasant manner.
Tickets for the month following the next will begin to be sold at 10:00 am (Japan time) every 1st day of the month, and ticket sales will be stopped as soon as the quota is reached. Tickets may not be purchased on the day of visit, and there’s no waiting list. Tickets can only be bought using a credit card (no service fee). For more details, visit the official homepage of the museum.
Admission fee: General: 1,000 JPY (incl. tax), Elementary and junior/senior high school: 600 JPY (incl. tax) ※Pre-school children can enter for free. Group discount rates are not available.
3F Gallery Installation View (C)YAYOI KUSAMA
Exhibition: “Here, Now, I Have Reached the Grandest Start of My Life” from April 1, 2018 (Sun) - August 31, 2018 (Fri)
The exhibit titled “Here, Now, I Have Reached the Grandest Start of My Life” started on April 1, 2018.
Since she was young, Kusama has created dozens of drawings a day that depicted her hallucinations. The exhibition showcases the drawings and watercolor artworks from the 1950s that she made in places like her hometown of Matsumoto, where her creative journey took off.
Her latest painting series, “My Eternal Soul” – which is where most of her focus is on these days – will also be displayed, along with her recent works like the Mirror Room. You will get to see the origin of Kusama and trace the footsteps of her artistic journey through “Here, Now, I Have Reached the Grandest Start of My Life”.
THE DAY MY BODY LEAVES LIFE, THE MOON SHALL STOP ITS GLORY 2017 194×194cm (C)YAYOI KUSAMA
Phosphoresce in the Daytime c.1950 25.2×17.5cm (C)YAYOI KUSAMA
Period: April 1, 2018 (Sun) - August 31, 2018 (Fri) ※During the exhibition, the displays may be changed, but only on the 2nd floor, where the works of Kusama from the 1950s are presented.
1st term: April 1 (Sun) - June 17 (Sun)
2nd term: June 21 (Thu) - August 31 (Fri)
Opening days: Thursdays – Sundays, national holidays
※Ticket sales will be stopped as soon as the quota is reached. Tickets for the month after the next will begin to be sold at 10:00 am (Japan time) on the 1st day of each month.
A FACE (No2) 1953 27.4×20.3cm (C)YAYOI KUSAMA
THE PATH OF LIFE 2017 194×194cm (C)YAYOI KUSAMA
Yayoi Kusama is vigorously working toward creating art pieces for what can be called her second golden age. The museum also showcases her works that have just been completed. They even set up a corner where you can witness the vitality of her vivid paintbrush that day! You have to actually come and experience this museum for yourself!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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