Hold On to Your Polka-Dotted Hats: Tokyo Is Getting a Yayoi Kusama Museum in October

The new institution has managed to remain extraordinarily low-profile.

Yayoi Kusama. Photo by Anna Fifield/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Yayoi Kusama has built a museum dedicated to her work in the Shinjuku section of Tokyo, and it is scheduled to open on October 1, according to a Japanese press release issued yesterday. Somehow, the artist has managed to keep the project very hush-hush until now.

The five-story museum—a white, large-windowed, curved structure—was built by architecture firm Kume Sekkei and completed in 2014. The institution will be led by director Tensei Tatebata, president of Tama Art University and director of the Saitama Museum of Modern Art.

The second and third floors of the museum will be dedicated to presentations of Kusama’s paintings, sculptures, and other works, while the fourth floor will be dominated by her Infinity Rooms and other wildly popular installations. The top floor will house a reading room and archival material. Timed tickets, which cost ¥1,000 ($9.18), go on sale August 28.

The Yayoi Kusama Museum, Tokyo. photo by Masahiro Tsuchido © Yayoi Kusama.

The Yayoi Kusama Museum, Tokyo. Photo by Masahiro Tsuchido © Yayoi Kusama.

The museum plans to host two rotating exhibitions annually. The inaugural show, “Creation is a Solitary Pursuit, Love is What Brings You Closer to Art,” on view October 1–February 25, will be devoted to her recent series of paintings, “My Eternal Soul.” (The brightly colored series, which includes images of eyes, organic forms, and faces, debuted at Victoria Miro Gallery in 2016.)

News of the museum’s imminent opening was reported this week by Japanese site Spoon and Tamago, which notes that in 2014, a blogger posted shots of the museum in progress, with Kusama’s paintings visible through the windows. Curiously, the museum retained its low profile despite a passing mention in a Washington Post profile of the artist published in February.

A spokeswoman for David Zwirner Gallery, which represents the artist, confirms that the museum has been in the works for some time—but says Kusama “wanted to keep it as a surprise for her fans.”

Kusama’s fame rivals that of almost any living artist. Her shows routinely draw lines around the block, and her works are among the most-Instagrammed art in the world.

In its 2014 museum attendance survey, the Art Newspaper called her “the poster girl for the globalization of contemporary art.” When the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, recently mounted a Kusama exhibition, its membership increased by a whopping 6,566 percent. A touring show featuring her Infinity Rooms is on view at the Seattle Art Museum through September 10.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics