Yayoi Kusama once wrote a letter to President Richard Nixon. The Japanese-born artist, who moved to NYC in 1957, had become a major player in the city's pop-art movement, and she offered to fuck Nixon's brains out if he'd only withdraw U.S. troops from Vietnam. Unfortunately, Tricky Dick opted to keep fucking Southeast Asia instead.
Kusama's Infinity Mirrors exhibit is a global art phenomenon that's touring the world (currently in Los Angeles, heading to Toronto in March and Cleveland in July), but this is just the most-recent revival for an 88-year-old artist, sculptor, author and fashion designer with six decades of work. As a NYC trailblazer in the 1950s and '60s, she led performance art "happenings," nude protests at the New York Stock Exchange and promoted gay rights with the Kusama Dancing Team (featuring all young gay men), the Kusama 'Omophile Kompany (a gay club and nude art studio) and the Homosexual Marriage, which she characterized as the first gay marriage ceremony in the United States. In fact, her mirrored art installation took her fame to new levels in recent years, but even that made its debut as the Infinity Mirror Room - Phalli's Field more than 50 years ago in NYC. It's no wonder the media described Kusama as both an inspiration and nemesis for Yoko Ono.
With Kusama hype reaching a fever pitch, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) scored an exclusive with three products based on her famous pumpkin art. The MoMA store is selling lacquer-painted resin pumpkins that measure four-inches high (currently on backorder until February 2018) as well as a retro-style leather clutch and a similarly styled coin purse. Rockin' one of these pumpkin pieces clearly shows off your good taste, and for those familiar with Kusama's legacy, it's also a symbol of pushing back against war, sexism and all forms of unjust prohibition.
Photo credits: MoMA Store, Flickr/Patricia Barden.