1. A look back at some of our favorite moments of 2012.

    Clockwise from top left: Werner Herzog and Biennial curators Jay Sanders and Elisabeth Sussman discuss Herzog’s thoughts on contemporary art; Yayoi Kusama with her work Guidepost to the New Space at Hudson River Park Pier 45, installed on the occasion of her retrospective; and Bucksbaum award winner Sarah Michelson's  Devotion Study #1—The American Dancer at Whitney Biennial 2012.

  2. This summer, on the occasion of the Yayoi Kusama retrospective, the artist’s Yellow Trees transformed 345 West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District, near the Whitney’s new building site.

  3. The first time I ever saw a pumpkin was when I was in elementary school and went with my grandfather to visit a big seed-harvesting ground. I stopped to lean in for a closer look, and there it was: a pumpkin the size of a man’s head. I parted a row of zinnias and reached in to pluck the pumpkin from its vein. It immediately began speaking to me in a most animated manner. It seems that pumpkins do not inspire much respect, but I was enchanted by their charming and winsome form. What appealed to me most was the pumpkin’s generous unpretentiousness.

    — Yayoi Kusama on pumpkins, a recurrent motif in her work. 

  4. Goodbye Kusama! Her Dots Obsession installation in our lobby was deflated this morning. 
Though the retrospective has closed, you can still catch Kusama’s Fireflies on the Water—it’s on view through October 28. 

    Goodbye Kusama! Her Dots Obsession installation in our lobby was deflated this morning. 

    Though the retrospective has closed, you can still catch Kusama’s Fireflies on the Water—it’s on view through October 28. 

  5. For her 1966 performance Walking Piece, Yayoi Kusama walked the streets of New York in a kimono as a commentary on her outsider status.
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Slide from Walking Piece, 1966. Slide projection, dimensions variable. Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; and Yayoi Kusama Studio. © Yayoi Kusama. 24 Photos by Eikoh Hosoe. © Eikoh Hosoe

    For her 1966 performance Walking Piece, Yayoi Kusama walked the streets of New York in a kimono as a commentary on her outsider status.

    Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Slide from Walking Piece, 1966. Slide projection, dimensions variable. Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; and Yayoi Kusama Studio. © Yayoi Kusama. 24 Photos by Eikoh Hosoe. © Eikoh Hosoe

  6. There is no lack of suffering for one who takes an avant-garde stance in society.

    — Yayoi Kusama, whose retrospective closes this Sunday

  7. Bring on Picasso, bring on Matisse, bring on anybody! I would stand up to them all with a single polka dot.

    — Yayoi Kusama, whose retrospective closes this Sunday

  8. FINAL WEEK! Yayoi Kusama’s retrospective runs through Sunday, September 30. 
Installation view of Yayoi Kusama (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, July 12-September 30,2012). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

    FINAL WEEK! Yayoi Kusama’s retrospective runs through Sunday, September 30. 

    Installation view of Yayoi Kusama (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, July 12-September 30,2012). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

  9. Don’t miss the dots! Yayoi Kusama’s outdoor installation at Hudson River Park will be de-installed tomorrow. Kusama’s retrospective continues at the Whitney through this Sunday. 
Yayoi Kusama with her installation Guidepost to the New Space at Hudson River Park Pier 45, New York, July 2012. Image courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York

    Don’t miss the dots! Yayoi Kusama’s outdoor installation at Hudson River Park will be de-installed tomorrow. Kusama’s retrospective continues at the Whitney through this Sunday. 

    Yayoi Kusama with her installation Guidepost to the New Space at Hudson River Park Pier 45, New York, July 2012. Image courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York

  10. Yayoi Kusama is an original painter. The five white, very large paintings in this show are strong, advanced in concept and realized. The effect is both complex and simple.

    — 

    Donald Judd on Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Net paintings in ArtNews, October 1959.

    Judd was one of Kusama’s first friends in New York and was the first collector to buy one of her Infinity Net paintings after her Brata Gallery show in 1959. 

  11. Q: Please settle a dispute: does Kusama use stencils or other tools for works like “Yellow Trees”? Thanks! 
A: I originally assumed that stencils were used. Now, after close and intense observation, I have ruled them out. Kusama is obsessive in her mark-making and there are infinite variations in every line of circles in YELLOW TREES. And, I do not find logical repeats. Each tendril/stem is too individual. She may have used a compass to set the larger curves (pin-holes evident at points); however even these are not “regular.’ We must remember that Kusama has a very obsessive nature that is evident in her early infinity net paintings of the late 1950s.
Kusama exhibition curator David Kiehl answered questions today via Twitter for #askacurator day. 
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Yellow Trees, 1994. Acrylic on canvas, 63 13/16 x 153 9/16 in. (162.1 x 390 cm). Forever Museum of Contemporary Art. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; Victoria Miro Gallery, London

    Q: Please settle a dispute: does Kusama use stencils or other tools for works like “Yellow Trees”? Thanks! 

    A: I originally assumed that stencils were used. Now, after close and intense observation, I have ruled them out. Kusama is obsessive in her mark-making and there are infinite variations in every line of circles in YELLOW TREES. And, I do not find logical repeats. Each tendril/stem is too individual. She may have used a compass to set the larger curves (pin-holes evident at points); however even these are not “regular.’ We must remember that Kusama has a very obsessive nature that is evident in her early infinity net paintings of the late 1950s.

    Kusama exhibition curator David Kiehl answered questions today via Twitter for #askacurator day

    Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Yellow Trees, 1994. Acrylic on canvas, 63 13/16 x 153 9/16 in. (162.1 x 390 cm). Forever Museum of Contemporary Art. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; Victoria Miro Gallery, London

  12. “When you get to New York take your pictures under your arm and show them to anyone you think might be interested. … You will just have to find your way as best you can. It seems to me very odd that you are so ambitious to show your paintings here, but I wish the best for you.”
Georgia O’Keeffe in a letter to Yayoi Kusama, which is on view in our Kusama retrospective. Isn’t O’Keeffe’s handwriting beautiful?
As a young woman living in Japan, Kusama found O’Keeffe’s address in a Who’s Who reference book at the American Embassy in Tokyo. The two began a correspondence which turned into a friendship. 

    When you get to New York take your pictures under your arm and show them to anyone you think might be interested. … You will just have to find your way as best you can. It seems to me very odd that you are so ambitious to show your paintings here, but I wish the best for you.”

    Georgia O’Keeffe in a letter to Yayoi Kusama, which is on view in our Kusama retrospective. Isn’t O’Keeffe’s handwriting beautiful?

    As a young woman living in Japan, Kusama found O’Keeffe’s address in a Who’s Who reference book at the American Embassy in Tokyo. The two began a correspondence which turned into a friendship. 

  13. Fly back to me 
Spring flower
And I shall tie a string to you
Like this butterfly


I taste some of 
The drink in your
Glass that you leave
I drink to Yayoi
Now—-
I think of my princess.
Joseph Cornell wrote this poem—one of many!—for Yayoi Kusama when they knew each other in the 1960s in New York. See artifacts from their relationship as part of Kusama’s retrospective, which closes September 30. 
Installation view of Yayoi Kusama (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, July 12-September 30,2012). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

    Fly back to me 

    Spring flower

    And I shall tie a string to you

    Like this butterfly

    I taste some of 

    The drink in your

    Glass that you leave

    I drink to Yayoi

    Now—-

    I think of my princess.

    Joseph Cornell wrote this poem—one of many!—for Yayoi Kusama when they knew each other in the 1960s in New York. See artifacts from their relationship as part of Kusama’s retrospective, which closes September 30. 

    Installation view of Yayoi Kusama (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, July 12-September 30,2012). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

  14. "I want to go to heaven knowing that I have created color in my own and other people’s lives."

    Yayoi Kusama on CBS Sunday Morning. Only a few more weeks to see Kusama’s retrospective before it closes September 30! 

    Submit questions for Kusama curator David Kiehl now. We’ll post his answers on Twitter for #askacurator day September 19. 

  15. The thought of continually eating something like macaroni, spat out by machinery, fills me with fear and revulsion, so I make macaroni sculptures. I make them and make them and then keep on making them, until I bury myself in the process. I call this ‘obliteration.’

    — Yayoi Kusama, from her autobiography Infinity Net