Yayoi Kusama: All About My Love

Image of Yayoi Kusama: All About My Love
Release Date: 
January 14, 2020
Publisher/Imprint: 
Thames & Hudson
Pages: 
264
Reviewed by: 

Yayoi Kusama: All About My Love showcases the imagery and portrays the artist’s personal story.”

Whimsical, manic, and bold are just a few descriptors of Yayoi Kusama’s art. She is recognized worldwide as an avant garde visionary whose work straddles numerous categories: Conceptual Art, Pop Art, Minimalism, Feminist Art, and Performance Art. Yayoi Kusama: All About My Love features 350 dazzling illustrations by the artist known as the “Princess of Polka Dots,” thanks to her signature dot motifs.

Underlying Kusama’s fixation with dots is a history of mental illness that includes hallucinations. Creating is an outlet for her hallucinations that enables her to control her emotional world. For Kusama, the drive to create is an intense outpouring, a burbling up and bursting forth.

“When somebody asks me what I’m painting, I answer, ‘Try asking my hand.’ After I’m finished, I think, wow, did I make this? It’s magnificent.”

It is remarkable that the darkness she carries inside inspires a product that is easy to appreciate and seemingly lighthearted in color and subject. However, as is revealed in this book, those intricate repetitive patterns convey, and are born of,  the artist’s internal struggle.

Kusama’s inclination to art was vehemently opposed by her parents. Their efforts to dissuade their daughter were not just vigorous but also abusive. Kusama could not be deterred. She continued her work, which served as a lifeline from her mental illness, and left Japan for New York City in 1957. During those early years in New York, she began to lay the foundation of her reputation as an audacious artist. Today she makes her home in a mental hospital as a voluntary resident and works out of a nearby studio.

In her lifetime, Yayoi Kusama has been prolific, producing works in a surprising range of mediums, painting, sculpture, installation, film, fashion, poetry and fiction. This year she designed a balloon for the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. In 2020, she is appointed by the New York Botanical Gardens to cover the park with original installations, sculptures, and her renowned infinity mirror environments.

Yayoi Kusama: All About My Love showcases the imagery and portrays the artist’s personal story. The personal narrative lends gravity to the work and absolutely enhances one’s appreciation of the art.