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I want to read and re-read this book again and again. I have only read it once and quite quickly as I just wanted to know everything about Yayoi Kusama. I love her work and her life story is a mix of inspiration, surprise and many other words come to mind. She is very eccentric, unique and interesting as a person. Her art is amazing and I am a big fan of her work and her art inspires me to try harder to accomplish drawings and pictures for my own home which are based on her techniques.
She has lived a very full life and seems to be a very honest and humble person. Lots of untrue stories have been written about her over the years and in her own words she denies many of these myths about herself. Her art work has always been controversial both years ago as well as today. Her fascination with male and female private body parts caused quite a stir in the 1960's in New York and her many "Happenings" shows that she put on were considered to be nothing more than Orgies. She is famous for her body painting and use of polka dots as well as poetry and sculptures and painting, she is also knows for many other reasons too. Here career is long and never ending it would seem.
She has had relationships with famous men and famously had a 10 year relationship with Joseph Cornell - to my disbelief this was a platonic relationship. In light of all the sexual content in her artwork, it was a surprise to know that she has a fear of sex and finds painting and creating using shapes that resemble penises to be a way for her to deal with this fear and loathing. This stems from her childhood.
She moved from Japan as a young women to New York and then back to Japan in the 1970's where she voluntarily moved into a mental institution where she still lives today at the age of 88 where she has a very organised life and paints for hours every day. She is in constant pain in her joints from years of painting. She has vowed to paint to the end of her life.
This book references many famous artists such as Andy Warhol and talks about her friendships and relationships with many people. She is blunt and to the point about her shortcomings too and tells stories in a very open and honest way without glossing over herself as being a saint. She reveals some interesting facts that most people would not know if you don't read the book. I was hooked and can't wait to re-read it as a skipped some pages as I wanted to read about certain aspects of her life more than others.
She talks about her early childhood and the effect her mother had on her life. Like most adults that have had an abusive mother, we tend to carry lots of baggage and mental scars about the abuse. I felt overwhelmed at times and sad for her at the way her mother expected her to do things that no child should be expected to do. It was cruel and unfair but then again that is life. Her mother never supported her and discouraged her in her artwork.
She has used art as a healing platform to help her with her mental illness and a way of self expression and feelings about the world. Personally I feel humbled to have even read this book and look up to her work as something I aspire to be like as an artist (very amateur one I may add).
Anyone interested in art would like this book or even if you are not interested in Yayoi Kusama, her autobiography spills the beans on many famous artists mostly around the 60's and also tells the reader what it must have been like in New York in the 60's as well as Japan over the years as well. She references her early life in Japan and then again in the later years as well.
I can honestly say this is probably one of the most exciting books I have read for a very long time. I am so happy I bought the kindle copy of this book so I can keep it with me in my bag and read it whenever I want.
I have other 3000 reviews and this is the first time I wish I could give a book more than 5 stars, so maybe this sums up how great I feel the book is.
Her autobiography gives a direct insight into her life search for and experience of the infinity of the world of which we tend to obliterate most of from our “body form”. Highly recommended if you want to understand Yayoi Kusama’s work and life journey without intellectual layers