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07/09/2018 Culture no responses

Hallucinations, Instagram, Sex, $7m & Kasuma

Yayoi Kasuma

Those who’ve secured a ticket for Yayoi Kasuma’s Infinity Rooms exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art are in for a treat.  The shows opened Saturday, 07/07/2018 and runs through Sunday, 09/30/2018.  Kasuma first gained prominence in the 1960’s with the “Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field” exhibit at the Castellane Gallery (New York).  Her ability to create vibrantly constructed environments that feature full-length mirrors, densely arranged polka-dotted objects and flickering LED lights is unmistakable.  Kasuma’s mastery of immersive art by manipulating space and creating infinite reflections in solitary settings gives the visitor a personal experience. Her 66-year career, which has produced over 50,000 works, unofficially began with drawing polka dots at age 10 in Japan.  Today, Yayoi is the highest-selling, living female artist and in 2017 her own dedicated museum opened in Tokyo.

Kasuma’s popularity skyrocketed in the 2010’s when her art became more commercial by launching a Louis Vuitton collaboration.  Instagram’s birth and meteoric growth helped amplify her recognition. Kasuma’s work being participatory art bodes well in today Instagram’s crazed society, where she’s its most popular artist.  Hundreds of thousands of images can be accessed from filtering on #yayoikusama, #Kusama and #InfiniteKusama.  The exhibit’s individually timed viewings inhibit the perfect picture opportunity for art enthusiasts and millennials.  Kasuma gets advertised by each artsy, selfie which features her work as the backdrop. In turn, this fuels her success along with the exhibit’s instant sell outs and hour-long lines.

Interesting Kasuma facts :

5. Her obsession with dots resulted from hallucinations she started experiencing as a kid.

“I call them my repetitive vision,” she says. “I still see them. [They] cover the canvas and grow on to the floor, the ceiling, chairs and tables. Then the polka dots move to the body, on to my clothes and into my spirit. It is an obsession.”

4. Kasuma suffers from mental illness and voluntary lives in a Tokyo psychiatric hospital.  The nearby studio where she paints gives her a therapeutic outlet.

“I only slept two hours last night. When I get tired from making pictures, I find it really difficult to go to sleep. But it’s how I get away from my illness and escape the hallucinations. I call it psychosomatic art.”

3. Recurring themes of her work (aside from polka dots) are sex, nets and pumpkins.

2. In 1959, her paintings sold for $200 each.  In 2018, they sell for $7m and up.

1. In 1966, Yayoi was the first woman to represent Japan at the 33rd Venice