BIRMINGHAM, ALA – An exhibition of 60 works-on-paper created by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama will be on view at the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) through January 28. “Yayoi Kusama: Early Drawings” surveys the brightly colored, highly patterned, visually saturated works of this recently rediscovered artist.
The exhibit is organized by the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) and curated by Dr David Moos, BMA curator of painting, sculpture, and graphic arts. It is part of the BMA’s 50th anniversary celebration, and will be on view at five different venues.
This superb body of works-on-paper is drawn from the collection of Richard Castellane, a New York Gallery owner who mounted three important Kusama exhibitions in the mid 1960’s.
Kusama came to prominence in the New York art world during the 1960’s. Feeling ostracized from the rigid hierarchical society of Japan, she left her homeland in search of artistic freedom. She arrived in America in 1958, carrying with her an assortment of some two thousand watercolors and drawings.
By 1962 she had participated in a primarily “Infinity Net” paintings and related work-on-paper; “Infinity Nets” were fields of paints obsessively inscribed by a single repetitive paint gesture.
In April 1964 Kusama mounted her “Driving Image Show” at the Castellane Gallery in New York, an exhibition that launched her reputation as an avant-garde installation artist, a radical direction for that time.
Kusama’s preferred media included pen-and-ink, tempera, watercolors, acrylic and pastel. While some of the pieces included in “Yayoi Kusama: Early Drawings” are unaltered works dating from the early 1950’s others display her penchant for expanding and elaborating her earlier work. These remarkable drawings describe the passage of a young Japanese woman artist into the center of the thriving New York art world of the 1960’s.
Laura Hopton will present a slide lecture on the art of Yayoi Kusama in the BMA’s Steiner Auditorium on Sunday, December 3 at 2:30 pm The event is free and open to the public.
The Birmingham Museum of Art is at 2000 Eighth Avenue North. For information call 205/254-2565.