UMFA PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
--Shelbey Peterson, UMFA Public Relations Associate
--Jill Dawsey, Acting Chief Curator/Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
Yayoi Kusama: Decades
Curator Talk by Jill Dawsey on January 19, 2011 at 6 pm
Salt Lake City, UT – Learn about the fascinating art and life of renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama in a free public lecture by Jill Dawsey, acting chief curator and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA). Presented in conjunction with the current exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: Decades, this lecture will take place in the Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke, Jr. Auditorium in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at the University of Utah on Wednesday, January 19 from 6-7 pm.
About Yayoi Kusama
From innovative Infinity Nets paintings to obsessive sculptures to polka-dot-filled installations and performances, Yayoi Kusama’s pioneering work has established her as one of Japan’s most important contemporary artists. Over the past five decades, she has used her work as a vehicle for exploring themes of infinity, repetition, identity, and sexuality.
From 1958 to 1973 Kusama lived in New York City, where she became a key figure in the downtown art scene. Kusama became known for her Infinity Nets paintings, which were covered in intricate, lace-like patterns that seemed to expand forever. By the early 1960s, her nets began to cover real objects such as kitchenware, furniture, even entire rooms. As her practice evolved, she incorporated performance into her work, staging events inspired by the countercultural movements of the time.
According to Kusama’s own account, she was initially driven to create art as a means of combating a precarious mental illness. At a young age, Kusama began experiencing hallucinations in which insidious patterns covered everything around her, and felt “as if I had begun to self-obliterate, to revolve in the infinity of endless time and the absoluteness of space.” Kusama’s artistic practice became a means of immobilizing the patterns that taunted her, and she has remained enormously productive in spite of her illness.
Following her return to Japan in the early 1970s, Kusama was largely forgotten in America, but she received renewed attention in the 1990s when a younger generation of artists discovered her expansive and hybrid approach to art making. Today Kusama lives voluntarily in an institution for the mentally ill, yet she continues to produce work prolifically, maintaining a large studio with numerous assistants.
About the Curator Talk
In this free curator talk, Dawsey will discuss Kusama’s extraordinary career and legacy. Dawsey will also describe the ways in which Kusama’s art is thematically linked to certain facets of her biography, specifically her status as a woman and immigrant–as a “stranger” and “other”–in the western art world of the late 1950s and 1960s.
Presented in conjunction with the current exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: Decades, this lecture will take place in the Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke, Jr. Auditorium in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at the University of Utah on Wednesday, January 19 from 6-7 pm. For more information, please visit www.umfa.utah.edu or www.yayoi-kusama.jp.
About Yayoi Kusama: Decades
Yayoi Kusama: Decades offers a focused presentation of eleven works by the artist, highlighting artistic developments from each decade of her long career. Featuring works on paper, paintings on canvas, and one Compulsion Furniture sculpture, the exhibition will be on view in the UMFA’s first-floor galleries through February 13, 2011.
About the UMFA
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is located in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building on the University of Utah campus at 410 Campus Center Drive. The UMFA’s mission is to engage visitors in discovering meaningful connections with the artistic expressions of the world’s cultures. Admission is $7 adults, $5 seniors and youth ages 6-18, children 5 and under free, UMFA Members free. Free admission is offered on the first Wednesday and third Saturday of each month thanks to the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks Fund. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Weekends, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays. For more information call (801) 581-7332 or visit umfa.utah.edu.