Yayoi Kusama: Inventing The Singular by Midori YamamuraYayoi Kusama: Inventing The Singular by Midori Yamamura

Yayoi Kusama: Inventing The Singular

byMidori Yamamura

Hardcover | August 21, 2015

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An examination of Yayoi Kusama's work that goes beyond the usual biographical interpretation to consider her place in postwar global art history.

Yayoi Kusama is the most famous artist to emerge from Japan in the period following World War II. Part of a burgeoning international art scene in the early 1960s, she exhibited in New York with Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Claes Oldenburg, and other Pop and Minimalist luminaries, and in Europe with the Dutch Nul and the German Zero artist groups. Known for repetitive patterns, sewn soft sculptures, naked performance, and suggestive content, Kusama's work anticipated the politically charged feminist art of the 1970s. But Kusama and her work were soon eclipsed by a dealer-controlled art market monopoly of white male American artists. Returning to Japan in 1973, Kusama became almost as famous for her self-proclaimed mental illness and permanent residence in a psychiatric hospital as she was for her art. In this book, Midori Yamamura eschews the usual critical fascination with Kusama's biography to consider the artist in her social and cultural milieu. By examining Kusama's art alongside that of her peers, Yamamura offers a new perspective on Kusama's career.

Yamamura shows that Kusama, who came of age in totalitarian wartime Japan, embraced art as an anticonformist pursuit, seeking a subjective autonomy that resulted in the singular expression of her art. Examining Kusama's association with European and New York art movements of the 1960s and her creation of psychedelic light-and-sound "Happenings," Yamamura argues that Kusama and her heterogeneous peers defied and undermined various pillars of modernity during the crucial transition from the modern nation-state to global free-market capitalism.

The art market rediscovered Kusama in the 1990s, and she has since had a series of high-profile exhibitions. Recounting Kusama's story, Yamamura offers an incisive, penetrating analysis of postwar art's globalization as viewed from the periphery.

Midori Yamamura is a Lecturer in Art History at Fordham University.
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Title:Yayoi Kusama: Inventing The SingularFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 7 × 0.75 inPublished:August 21, 2015Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262029472

ISBN - 13:9780262029476

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

An examination of Yayoi Kusama's work that goes beyond the usual biographical interpretation to consider her place in postwar global art history. Yayoi Kusama is the most famous artist to emerge from Japan in the period following World War II. Part of a burgeoning international art scene in the early 1960s, she exhibited in New York with Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Claes Oldenburg, and other Pop and Minimalist luminaries, and in Europe with the Dutch Nul and the German Zero artist groups. Known for repetitive patterns, sewn soft sculptures, naked performance, and suggestive content, Kusama's work anticipated the politically charged feminist art of the 1970s. But Kusama and her work were soon eclipsed by a dealer-controlled art market monopoly of white male American artists. Returning to Japan in 1973, Kusama became almost as famous for her self-proclaimed mental illness and permanent residence in a psychiatric hospital as she was for her art. In this book, Midori Yamamura eschews the usual critical fascination with Kusama's biography to consider the artist in her social and cultural milieu. By examining Kusama's art alongside that of her peers, Yamamura offers a new perspective on Kusama's career.Yamamura shows that Kusama, who came of age in totalitarian wartime Japan, embraced art as an anticonformist pursuit, seeking a subjective autonomy that resulted in the singular expression of her art. Examining Kusama's association with European and New York art movements of the 1960s and her creation of psychedelic light-and-sound "Happenings," Yamamura argues that Kusama and her heterogeneous peers defied and undermined various pillars of modernity during the crucial transition from the modern nation-state to global free-market capitalism.The art market rediscovered Kusama in the 1990s, and she has since had a series of high-profile exhibitions. Recounting Kusama's story, Yamamura offers an incisive, penetrating analysis of postwar art's globalization as viewed from the periphery.Midori Yamamura has written a highly detailed, readable account of the central role that Yayoi Kusama played in the development of Pop Art and Minimalism. Kusama was one of the first artists to use serial images, make soft sculptures, and incorporate industrial materials and processes into her work. Her influence on artists as diverse and important as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Donald Judd, Frank Stella, and Eva Hesse has largely been a matter of rumor. This indispensable book goes a long way toward setting the record straight.-John Yau, Professor in Critical Studies, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University