Even people who don’t know a lot about art or fashion have heard of Andy Warhol and Louis Vuitton. Yet Yayoi Kusama is hardly a household name despite the fact that the 94-year-old artist was a friend and uncredited mentor to the former, and collaborated with the latter in 2012 and 2023.
Though art scholars rank Kusama as one of the most successful living female artists, she’s only recently been given her due in the States thanks in part to Heather Lenz’s documentary Kusama – Infinity (2018) which premiered at Sundance and Chicago’s WNDR Museum which currently houses Kusama’s “Let’s Survive Forever” (2017).
Considered to be her masterpiece, the immersive installation featuring stainless steel balls suspended from the ceiling and arranged on the floor is on view in the Midwest’s only Kusama Infinity Room through April 30. Once the piece leaves it will be replaced on May 12 with the U.S. debut of her yellow “Dots Obsession” (2008), a three-story immersive infinity installation.
“Yayoi Kusama is perhaps the most prolific and celebrated living artist with a truly inspiring history of creative genius, and we are committed to the idea that her work should be experienced by the public as a source of awe and inspiration,” says WNDR Museum Creative Director David Allen.
Born and raised in Japan, Kusama filtered the trauma of her childhood and ongoing mental health struggles into her infinity-themed installations. Following her first Infinity Mirror Room in 1965, Kusama produced more than twenty unique rooms. After emerging as an artist during the Vietnam era, she has voluntarily lived in a mental hospital.
“Since my childhood, I have always made works with polka dots. Earth, moon, sun and human beings all represent dots; a single particle among billions,” explains the artist.
After making its debut in London, England, yellow “Dots Obsession” was on display in Australia, Indonesia, Lithuania, and Singapore. Its upcoming exhibition in America advances WNDR Museum’s commitment to making fine art accessible and approachable to the public.
“At WNDR Museum, we are disrupting the sense of exclusivity and distance that too often has marked the experience of art, and we are redefining the museum as a source of engagement and inspirational playfulness – in that spirit, we’re thrilled to bring these iconic Kusama infinity room installations to WNDR guests in Chicago and across the country,” continues Allen.