Yayoi Kusama, Queen of Polka Dots, Opens Museum in Tokyo

No surprise there: Last spring, when Ms. Kusama’s work was exhibited at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, the show attracted record numbers of visitors who stood in long lines for the chance to spend 20 or 30 seconds in each mirrored room.

In an effort to limit crowds in the new Tokyo museum, only 50 visitors will be admitted at a time for one of four 90-minute slots per day.

The building, designed by the architectural firm Kume Sekkei, stands five stories high in Shinjuku, a residential neighborhood close to Ms. Kusama’s studio and the psychiatric hospital where she has lived voluntarily since 1977.


“Starry Pumpkin” (2015) by Yayoi Kusama.

Motohiko Hasui for The New York Times

Designed as five large cubes stacked on top of each other, the museum features galleries with high ceilings, pristine white walls and curved corners. White polka dots are stenciled onto glass panels lining the front of the building. Museum staff declined to say how much it had cost to build.

Ms. Kusama selected all of the art that appears in the inaugural exhibition, “Creation Is a Solitary Pursuit, Love Is What Brings You Closer to Art,” which includes mostly recent work and runs until Feb. 25. Exhibitions will be rotated every six months.

“It will probably be a mecca for Kusama,” said Yasuaki Ishizaka, the former head of Sotheby’s in Japan and now an art adviser. “She is one of the first Japanese — the only Japanese perhaps — who has a really popular worldwide following, whether it’s Asia, Europe or the States, or whether it’s with elderly or younger people.” Ms. Kusama said she creates her works during a process of obsessive concentration and hallucinations.In 2014, one of her works, “White No. 28,” sold for $7.1 million, with premium, at Christie’s.

The new exhibition includes 45 pieces, 16 of which are part of the series “My Eternal Soul” — large, electric-colored acrylic paintings that Ms. Kusama has been working on since 2009 and that were exhibited at the National Art Center in Tokyo earlier this year.


Yayoi Kusama’s new museum in Shinjuku, a residential neighborhood close to the artist’s studio and the psychiatric hospital where she has lived voluntarily since 1977.


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