Yayoi Kusama: Big in South America

Well established Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has, to the surprise of everyone, become a veritable sensation in South America with her touring career retrospective titled Infinite Obsession. This new exhibition has toured through Argentina and Brazil starting this past June, and it has had literally millions of people crowding to see her work, smashing records for museum attendance across the continent. During its stay in Brasilia alone it drew in almost a million viewers and has continued to draw monstrously large crowds, bigger than anyone really anticipated. At this point she has been an integral part of the art world for nearly half a century, so it comes as something of a surprise to learn that she is only just now finding an emerging market in certain parts of the world.

Kusama happens to be the third most expensive living female artist at auction in the world, with one work selling for a record $5.1 million. She first came to prominence during the birth of Pop Art movement in the 1960’s by staging a series of performance art pieces that featured people nude on the street were painted over in polka dots. Now at age 85, she has covered all bases of art, from minimalist painting to hypersexual sculpture to novels and poetry. Yet it seems only recently that her prominence is reaching its furthest heights, with a recent show evoking the cosmos titled Infinity Mirrored Room that had patrons lined up for hours to get a peek.

The exhibition has just begun its current stay in Mexico City, where it will be on display at the Museum Tamayo until January 18th. For an octogenarian artist clearly ahead of her time, these fresh accolades in certain parts of the world are better late than never.

Image courtesy of Yayoi Kusama

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