Eight key collaborations and projects from contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama

Eight key collaborations and projects from contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama

Following Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s latest collaboration with fashion label Louis Vuitton, we’ve rounded up eight projects and collaborations featuring her signature colorful polka dots.

At nearly 94 years old, Kusama is widely considered one of the world’s most successful living artists, with a portfolio that ranges from installation, sculpture, and performance art to fashion, painting, and video.

For decades, he has placed repetitive dots at the center of his projects, often referencing hallucinations and visions he has experienced since his youth.

From designer apparel and products to installations that have traveled the globe, here are eight of Kusama’s key projects:

A large-scale sculpture by Yayoi Kusama mimics the act of painting in a decorated Louis Vuitton store
Kusama has designed the interior of several Louis Vuitton stores. The photo is courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton collaboration

Louis Vuitton marked the launch of a capsule collection co-designed with Kusama this month with several bold installations in Louis Vuitton stores around the world, which have been redecorated to reflect the artist’s signature bold style.

An inflatable replica of Kusama has been placed peering over the ceiling of the Champs-Élysées store in Paris, while a full-scale sculpture of the artist has been placed alongside oversized mirror balls at a pop-up store in Tokyo.

A life-like animatronic robot of Kusama was inserted into a New York storefront on Fifth Avenue, jokingly painting its famous spots on the glass for viewers to see.

Learn more about the latest Louis Vuitton collaboration ›

Yayoi Kusama's Polka Dot Trees in New York
Photo is by Robert Benson Photography

Kusama: Cosmic Nature

A park-wide display at the New York Botanical Garden showed trees wrapped in stained red and white polyester, which were securely fastened with bungee cords and metal staples.

The Dancing Gourd (main image) is an abstract shaped bronze sculpture characterized by black and yellow polka dots that was placed on a walkway for visitors to interact with.

The artist also poured 1,400 mirrored steel balls into a pond, which is part of the Narcissus Garden, an ongoing project that began in 1966.

Discover more about Cosmic Nature ›

Yayoi Kusama's Spotted Skateboards for MoMA
The photo is courtesy of Yayoi Kusama.

the dotted skateboards

The artist applied her iconic stitches to a series of hand-painted skateboard decks, which she sold at MoMA New York’s Design Shop in collaboration with the museum.

Available in two color combinations, red and white and black and yellow, the wooden decks were painted on the bottom by Kusama, who alternated between small and larger polka dots for the designs.

Learn more about The Dots skateboards ›

Yayoi Kusama hits red dots in Philip Johnson's Glass House
The photo is by Matthew Placek

Obsession with points: alive, in search of an eternal hope

The 1940s home designed by the late architect Philip Johnson, Glass House features a rectilinear structure and glass walls commonly associated with modernist residences.

Kusama completed a month-long intervention on the house, which is now a museum and gallery. The artist pasted hundreds of red dots onto the building’s façade, based on the idea that the project would allow visitors to “see the world through the eyes” of Kusama and Johnson simultaneously.

An iteration of Narcissus Garden was also installed on the site.

Learn more about Dots Obsession – Alive, Seeking for Eternal Hope ›

Yayoi Kusama's collaboration with Louis Vuitton in 2012
The image is courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton collaboration

Giant perforated lamps formed the backdrop for this concept store at Selfridges, which showcased the first collection of Kusama and Louis Vuitton clothing and accessories in 2012.

In designing the collection, the fashion label was inspired by a recent exhibition of Kusama’s work at the Tate Modern. Various bags and clothing, including a plastic raincoat, were covered in colorful arrangements of the artist’s iconic polka dots.

Meet Learn more about the first Louis Vuitton collaboration ›

Pumpkin sculpture on the pier by Yayoi Kusama
Image is courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

pumpkin sculpture

Simply titled Pumpkin, this sculpture stood at the end of a pier at the Benesse art site on the island of Naoshima in Kusama’s native Japan, before it was washed into the sea after a typhoon last August.

The black and yellow polka dot pumpkin is widely considered one of the most recognizable works of art in the country. It was broken into pieces after the tropical storm and is currently undergoing repairs.

Rockaway 2018!  by Yayoi Kusama
The photo is by Pablo Enríquez.

Daffodil Garden on the Rockaway Peninsula

In 2018, Kusama transported her Narcissus Garden project to a hurricane-damaged train garage on New York’s Rockaway Peninsula, where 1,500 mirror balls formed a spectacular installation.

The orb-shaped sculptures were in stark contrast to the abandoned site, which had been left in ruins and then suffered further deterioration after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Meet Learn more about Narcissus Garden on the Rockaway Peninsula ›

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Rooms
Image is courtesy of The Broad

Rooms with infinite mirrors

Like Narcissus Garden, the artist’s Infinity Mirror Rooms is an interactive project by Kusama with several iterations having been installed in venues around the world, including The Broad in Los Angeles.

The Rooms are small mirror-flanked boxes that extend to the floors and ceilings, reflecting hundreds of LED lights to create a visual deception.

While on display at The Broad, the museum imposed a 30-second “selfie rule” on visitors to prevent people spending too much time photographing the installation and causing queues.

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