NARRATOR:Welcome to this exhibition, Yayoi Kusama. The artist Yayoi Kusama was born in 1929; she is now eighty-three years old. In this exhibition we will look at six decades of her pioneering work—a testament to a life dedicated almost entirely to art.

Kusama grew up in Matsumoto City, a provincial town 130 miles west of Tokyo. Her family was upper-middle-class, and her mother believed the life of an artist was unsuitable for a girl of her station. But as a child, Kusama always found a way to draw, first exhibiting her work in her teens. Our exhibition begins with paintings and drawings that she made as a student in Kyoto, challenging the Japanese artistic tradition. We’ll see radically new paintings and sculptures that she made soon after arriving in New York in the late fifties. We’ll witness her innovative development of entire art environments, and the convergence of art and life in her Happenings. In the last galleries of this exhibition, we’ll see some of the work that Kusama made after returning to Japan—collages, paintings, and sculptures that have helped make her the country’s most prominent contemporary artist.

Let’s get started. Please enjoy the exhibition.

  • Werner Herzog in discussion with the Biennial curators. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke
  • Werner Herzog discusses his inspiration for _Hearsay of the Soul_, his installation on view in the 2012 Biennial. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke
  • From left: Jay Sanders, Werner Herzog, and Elisabeth Sussman. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke
  • Biennial co-curators Jay Sanders and Elisabeth Sussman flank filmmaker Werner Herzog. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke

NARRATOR:Welcome to this exhibition, Yayoi Kusama. The artist Yayoi Kusama was born in 1929; she is now eighty-three years old. In this exhibition we will look at six decades of her pioneering work—a testament to a life dedicated almost entirely to art.

Kusama grew up in Matsumoto City, a provincial town 130 miles west of Tokyo. Her family was upper-middle-class, and her mother believed the life of an artist was unsuitable for a girl of her station. But as a child, Kusama always found a way to draw, first exhibiting her work in her teens. Our exhibition begins with paintings and drawings that she made as a student in Kyoto, challenging the Japanese artistic tradition. We’ll see radically new paintings and sculptures that she made soon after arriving in New York in the late fifties. We’ll witness her innovative development of entire art environments, and the convergence of art and life in her Happenings. In the last galleries of this exhibition, we’ll see some of the work that Kusama made after returning to Japan—collages, paintings, and sculptures that have helped make her the country’s most prominent contemporary artist.

Let’s get started. Please enjoy the exhibition.