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Air Mail Stickers

1962

Yayoi Kusama, Air Mail Stickers, 1962. Collage on canvas, 71 1/2 × 67 1/2 in. (181.6 × 171.5 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mr. Hanford Yang  64.34
© Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama covered the entire surface of this canvas with hundreds of air mail stickers, the labels that you put on the envelope when you are going to mail a letter overseas. In the early 1960s when she made this work, Kusama was living in New York City. Writing letters was the only practical way she could communicate with her friends and family in her homeland of Japan—before cell phones, email, or live chat! At that time, the glue on the air mail stickers had to be licked on the back so that they would stick to an envelope (or a canvas). They were not self-adhesive as they are today.

Airmail stickers similar to those that Kusama used to make this collage.

Airmail stickers similar to those that Kusama used to make this collage.

Kusama and Collage

“Even before I left Matsumoto for the USA I had been fascinated by collage and assemblage, pasting together bits of shredded paper or filling boxes with stones I had collected from the wide, stony bank of the river behind our house.”

−Yayoi Kusama

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