AFC at the L Magazine: Decay on Display

by Paddy Johnson on July 18, 2012 The L Magazine

Yayoi Kusama, "Self-Obliteration No. 1," 1962–67. Watercolor, ink, graphite, and photocollage on paper. Image courtesy: Yayoi Kusama Studio, Inc.

This week at The L Magazine, I review Yayoi Kusama’s retrospective at The Whitney, a show full of decay, but fun, not so much. The excerpt below:

For a career retrospective, there’s not a lot of Yayoi Kusama’s work on display at The Whitney. Her exhibition (through September 30) spans only the fourth floor of the museum, a small amount of space when you consider that her work has filled Gagosian’s monster-sized exhibition spaces nine times since 2007. She’s been making work since 1949.

I mention this for context, not criticism. A lot of the Gagosian-friendly work Kusama has produced over the last few years has a tasteful, fun quality to it, characteristics that are harder to locate in this show. Curators Frances Morris and Rachel Taylor have instead opted to focus on work that looks more diseased than playful.

This is a good thing, and I’m not saying that because I have a secret desire for cancer. It tells viewers that Kusama’s work doesn’t stem from polite visions of cupcakes and roses but rather a near-compulsive vision that imposes itself on virtually anything she touches.

To read the full piece click here.

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