Yayoi Kusama Named Most Popular Artist of 2014

If we asked you to name who the top artist of 2014 would be, the first answers that spring to mind may be the artists who frequently appeared in the headlines with their blockbuster shows, such as Jeff Koons or Marina Abramovic. So it may come as a surprise for both casual art fans and aficionados of the scene to learn that the most popular artist on Earth is 86-year-old Japanese legend Yayoi Kusama.

According to an annual survey based solely on audience attendance, Kusama undisputedly crushed 2014. The artist came close to causing a riot in Central and South America with last year’s traveling retrospective exhibition, ‘Infinite Obsession’, which smashed all attendance records throughout the continent. Before the opening of the show in Mexico City, visitors were camped outside the museum for days on end. And on the other side of the planet, Kusama had an entirely separate touring exhibition, ‘A Dream I Dreamed’, that has made the rounds through India, South Korea, and now Taiwan.

Kusama is of course most well known for her vibrantly elaborate polka-dotted art, an aesthetic that has often been translated onto large-scale installations. But she is also a highly elusive, intriguing figure in the art world. She has done just about everything, from performance art, painting, site specific sculpture in nature, published nearly two dozen novels in her lifetime, from prose to poetry, and she has even launched a fashion line with Bloomingdale’s that debuted in 2009.

Her artistic tenure is reason enough that she should be the most popular artist of the year, but this makes for an incredibly important change in the normal trends of the art world. Women artists, let alone women artists of color, are severely misrepresented across the planet, be it in gallery shows or museum collections. The fact that Kusama’s work has been in overwhelmingly higher demand around the world than anyone else sends a message to the art community, a message that it might be time to make a conceded effort to shake things up in art world demographics. Now let’s just hope that we get some Kusama shows a little closer to home.

Image courtesy of Yayoi Kusama

Visit her website here

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