Kusama is one of Japan's best known living artists. Early in her career, Kusama moved to New York, over the objections of her family. There she quickly established herself in the mid-century avant-garde art scene, working in a broad range of mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, installation, and performance art. This installation belongs to a series of works begun in 1962 in which she takes everyday objects, such as shoes, furniture, suitcases, and kitchen equipment, and transforms them into something strange by covering them with phallic forms that are hand sewn, stuffed with cotton, and patined. While Kusama has said that she uses this practice to come to terms with her sexual fears, the sculpture is also a humorous commentary on the art world. Her work is characterized by repetition, pattern, and obsession, and this form has been used as a recurrent vocabulary throughout her fifty-year career.
From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)
Artist Yayoi Kusama, American, born 1929
Title
  • Silver Shoes
Date between 1976 and 1977
Medium shoes, cotton, and paint
Dimensions Storage: 9 3/4 × 48 × 22 1/2 inches (24.8 × 121.9 × 57.2 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, W. Hawkins Ferry Fund, with funds from the Friends of Modern Art
Accession Number 2000.46
Department Contemporary Art after 1950
Not On View
2000-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Bulletin of the DIA 89, no. 1/4 (2015): 6 (ill.).