London is filled with tourists in August and September. Museums, galleries and cafés are filled with their chatter. Outside the Tate Modern, on the banks of the Thames, locals and tourists are lining up to see Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition.
Kusama’s work is easy to enjoy because it is accessible and free from the afflictions of elite art. Even if you aren’t a fan of contemporary art, you are likely to be familiar with the diminutive Japanese artist’s signature polka dots and pumpkins, the leitmotif of most of her paintings, sculptures, performances and installations. The dots have followed Kusama from the time she was a little girl and began experiencing hallucinations. Today, at 93, the artist lives in a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo, her home for 45 years, and says the treatment and care at the facility have helped her to focus exclusively on her art.