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Posts Tagged ‘Yayoi Kusama’

What We’re Loving: Toomer, Kusama, and Train

July 13, 2012 | by

Yayoi Kusama, Self-Obliteration No. 1, 1962–67, watercolor, ink, graphite, and photocollage on paper, 15 7/8 × 19 13/16 in. Collection of the artist. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; Victoria Miro Gallery, London

Six years ago I wrote a little article about my favorite Washington, D.C., novels—and was roundly chastised for leaving Cane off the list. First published in 1923, Jean Toomer’s modernist classic isn't exactly about Washington, and it isn’t exactly a novel. It’s an early response to the Great Migration, in linked stories and verse, that moves from rural Georgia to U Street and back again. Still, it may well be the District’s greatest hit. It is pure lyricism, perfect for these late summer nights. —Lorin Stein

I caught a preview of the Yayoi Kusama retrospective that opened at the Whitney yesterday. If you’ve heard of her at all, it’s likely for her signature polka dots (or perhaps for her recent collaboration with Louis Vuitton). As a video in the show attests, her use of those dots was compulsive and obsessive: she sticks them on prone nudes, reclining cats, distracted dogs; they litter the ground, the wind, the sky. But most intriguing are her very early paintings, in which you can see Kusama working through the early masters of Western modernism. Of particular interest was a very odd painting incredibly titled Accumulation of Corpses (Prisoner Surrounded by the Curtain of Depersonalization), in which waves of red curtain folds pinhole a scene of bare trees. As chance would have it, the painting perfectly represented the book I’ve been reading, Windeye, Brian Evenson’s adroitly creepy new story collection. It’s kismet! —Nicole Rudick

What is glamour and how does one attain it? Is it curated, cultivated—or does it just arrive, like inspiration? Jim Lewis’s article for W magazine, “Face Forward,” is the perfect starting point for anyone intrigued by (or dismissive of) this fleeting, shimmering quality. For me, if beauty is an image, then glamour is imagery: aesthetics in the service of narrative. What is glamour, after all, but good storytelling? Presenting a glimpse of a lifestyle—or perhaps, a way of being—other, elsewhere, and then gone. —Alyssa Loh
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Staff Picks: ‘The Univited Guests,’ ‘Capital’

January 27, 2012 | by

I am always interested in reading about Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, and all the more so when a profile begins thusly: “Yayoi Kusama is 82 years old. But when she is wheeled in, on her blue polka-dotted wheelchair, she looks more like a baby, the sort you might see played by an adult in a British pantomime.” —Sadie Stein

“My middle-aged memories of the house by the sea, like the photographs my family took there, are caught up in the frothy state of betwixt-and-between that gave the place its grain: sharp grass and velvet mud, rush of water and crunch of shell, placid exteriors and rough-planked rooms.” So begins one story in Matthew Battles’s first collection, The Sovereignties of Invention. As one might expect from the author of Library: An Unquiet History, Battles owes a debt to Borges—but it’s the right kind of debt. His fables unfold against a hi-res real world, with close attention to everyday detail, in a prose that is precise, concise, musical, and alive. —Lorin Stein

At St. Ann’s Warehouse, Daniel Kitson makes a wonderful show of stuttering, stumbling, and giggling his way through It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later, his endearing and thoughtful one-man play about two long lives and the short moment at which they intersect. —Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn

If these gray days inspire a need for a good, old-fashioned Gothic country-house read, I recommend Sadie Jones’s The Uninvited GuestsI will spend the weekend happily curled up with it. —S.S.

Sunday I stayed in bed all morning with the galleys of John Lanchester’s Capital. Didn’t even get up to make coffee. —L.S.

Soon I’ll be settling down to reread John Crowley’s Little, Big— a family saga, a fantasy, a journey from the small to the large and back again. I think, while under its spell, I could be snowed in all season: “‘In winter,’ Grandfather Trout said, ‘summer is a myth. A report, a rumor. Not to be believed in.’”  —Josh Anderson

I have no idea what to say about this, but I read it and was thoroughly amazed. —Natalie Jacoby

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