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Yayoi Kusama

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Happy Birthday Yayoi Kusama!kusama1 (via)
She is 80 years old. (Two dates for her birthday, March 29 or March 22)

Kusama and Joseph Cornell

In 1972, American assemblage and collage artist Joseph Cornell died. Twenty-six years her senior, Cornell had been Kusama’s closest friend. New York was by this time home to a community of Japanese artists, but Kusama had avoided the associations many of her compatriots formed with groups such as the anti-art happening bunch in the neo-Dada group Fluxus.
“I had gone to New York to be independent,” she says, “Not to join a group.”
Cornell’s death left Kusama dangerously isolated, and her mental condition began to deteriorate. She experienced frequent hallucinations and bouts of severe depression and developed heart problems. Heeding her parents entreatments, Kusama returned to Japan. Her father died two years later, and despite out-patient psychiatric treatment, Kusama’s anxiety neurosis was now unmanageable. In 1977 she entered the psychiatric institution.
Kusama has lived in the same hospital for over 20 years. There is no furniture, save a bed. Her 12 square-meter room has a big, French-style bay window that looks out onto a small garden. Kusama sometimes watches people playing tennis in a court that lies behind the garden.
Every morning after breakfast, Kusama walks five minutes up Gaien Higashi street to her studio to paint. She walks back to the room for lunch, then returns to her studio and works through the afternoon. Kusama takes her dinner at the hospital before retiring each evening.
“It’s very comfortable, very private” says Kusama, “And very simple, I like it.”

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