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Happy 88th Birthday, Yayoi Kusama!

March 21st, 2017

Yayoi Kusama in her studio painting Pleasure to Be Born, 2016, acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist © Yayoi Kusama

Happy Birthday to the artist who turned the world into a psychedelic polka dot paradise.

Yayoi Kusama was born on March 22, 1929, in Matsumoto, Japan. A self-described “obsessional artist,” she is famous for her captivatingly repetitive patterns on paintings, sculptures, performance art and installations.

In 1958 she took on New York City, where she was active in avant-garde circles during the formative years of pop art and minimalism, exhibiting her work alongside such artists as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg (of the famous Floor Burger) and Allan Kaprow.

Kusama’s fame grew in the late 1960s through her radical anti-war happenings, which espoused nudity and polka dots in the streets of New York.

Yayoi Kusama Installation view of Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field, 1965, in Floor Show, Castellane Gallery, New York, 1965 Sewn stuffed cotton fabric, board, and mirrors Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York. © Yayoi Kusama

The world loves Kusama, and so do we. Just in time for her 89th birthday in March 2018, the AGO will be exhibiting Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, the most significant North American tour of her work in nearly two decades.

The exhibition provides visitors with the unique opportunity to experience six of Kusama’s most iconic kaleidoscopic environments at once, alongside large-scale, whimsical installations and key paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the early 1950s to the present. It also marks the North American debut of numerous new works by the 88-year-old artist, who is still actively creating in her Tokyo studio. These include large-scale paintings of vibrant colours and the recently-realized infinity room All the Eternal Love I Have for Pumpkins (2016), featuring dozens of her signature bright yellow, dotted pumpkins.

Infinity Mirrors is currently showing at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., where visitors are loving the selfie-ready landscapes of Kusama’s installations. To celebrate her 88th birthday on Wednesday, March 22, the Hirshhorn invites you to use the hashtag #InfiniteKusama to wish her a happy birthday!

March 2018 may feel far away, but it’s coming fast. AGO Members will get to see Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors first, and for free! Consider joining so that you can be among the first to see this spectacular exhibition.

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