Yayoi Kusama Children’s Book Tells the Story of Her Legendary, Polka-Dotted Life

ARTSY EDITORIAL
BY CASEY LESSER

What’s the best way to introduce kids to Yayoi Kusama?

Start with the dots.

That’s what Museum of Modern Art curator Sarah Suzuki has done in Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity, the new children’s book that teaches wee audiences about the legendary Japanese artist’s life and work.

The picture book is filled with lively illustrations by Ellen Weinstein, and also includes reproductions of works by Kusama. As a whole, it reflects the brilliant colors and serene poetry of the artist’s work, with an eye to developing art lovers of the future.

Kusama really had the force—and the talent—to create a future for herself that no one around her really thought was possible,” says Suzuki. “She’s quite a remarkable woman.”

Interior, Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity. Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The artist has become synonymous with otherworldly sculptures and paintings born out of personal ruminations on eternity and mortality, and the beloved “Infinity Rooms”—chambers filled with mirrors and flickers of light and color—which see museum goers queue up for hours on end to witness (and Instagram).

Now 88, she just debuted her own museum in Tokyo. From her earliest years as an artist in 1950s New York, she was a pioneer, making a series of “Infinity Nets” paintings and performances where she painted her friends with dots.

Translating the artist’s legacy (which is still ongoing) into a succinct, upbeat tale for children was no easy task. Suzuki approached the project as she does with much of her research on artists—she read everything she could, including the artist’s autobiography and past interviews. She examined Kusama’s work and thought back on her favorite children’s books.

I tried to get to the essence of why I loved them so much, and why they stayed with me,” she offers.

The book begins with…Read more here.