A segment of No. C.A.9 , by Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama (LACMA)
This painting by Yayoi Kusama is oil paint on canvas and is approximately 52 x 40 inches. It is currently on public view on the second floor of the Ahmanson Building at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
This painting caught my attention because I thought if I looked hard enough at it, I could find something else that was beyond its obvious content. I realized that I had been looking at the photo of the painting for about eight minutes, and still no animal shape or portrait appeared.
I enjoy looking at patterns, but it isn’t easy for a pattern to hold one’s attention for the same amount of time as an actual composition.
Kusama is a Japanese painter, who is well known for her polka-dot obsession that started in the 1970s. She has been painting with oil, pastels and watercolors since she was 10 years old. As an artist whose specialty is dots, staying relevant is not easy.
The feeling that I get when I look at this piece is a longing to understand. Trying to connect with something as simple as dots takes effort. This artist has a good sense of space; the eye is led around the center of the canvas several times. I get the feeling that others might not understand the importance of the painting, unless one is looking at it in person in all of its greatness.
Kusama has gotten all kinds of positive attention for the piece. People have made collages by taking photos of the painting at different distances and placing them together, which makes another piece of art in itself. The clothing brand J.Crew designed a women’s blouse after the piece, which I have to agree is tasteful. No. C.A.9 has also been featured on blogs such as the Mr. Hunter Wall, which features art and traveling adventures.
American critics seem to view Kusama’s paintings as an accurate representation of Japanese and modern art in collaboration. The keen eye she has is a reflection of her culture, and the beauty found in each individual brush dab is placed very comfortably. Although this piece wont be found on Google art project, more work by Kusama can be seen with great resolution if you are unable to visit LACMA.
I’ve decided to dedicate myself to bring attention to pieces like this one, which I feel could use more attention. Modern and contemporary art is so live in Los Angeles, and with the summer heat here, I’ll be cooling off in museums much more often.
For more information on Yayoi Kusama, visit yayoi-kusama.jp, and to plan a trip over to LACMA, visit lacma.org.