Love, Peace, and Living In an Institution: Yayoi Kusama Gets Candid at David Zwirner

On the eve of the opening of her gigantic show of 30 new paintings, two infinity rooms, and one video work at all three West 19th Street locations of David Zwirner Gallery, 84-year-old Yayoi Kusama spoke to journalists about her new works at a press conference organized by the gallery. Below, in no particular order, are some highlights.

— “In recent years, the world has been full of suffering and a lot of turmoil. When I contemplate the world today, all the more, I think about the role of the artist. As an artist, I think what I can share is love and peace. I would like to work with you together to make that happen, to give the joy of the art and love and peace to people who are suffering.”

— “My career has been uphill, but I have always survived with kindness. As I approach death I am still full of hope that we will have the power to spread hope and peace and I try to do so with my work. I really hope you, the members of the art world, spread this message to humankind, love, and world peace.”

— “Since childhood, I’ve been in a very difficult environment and a lot of hardship and I’ve had to overcome all of that to create my whole new worldview. At this late time in my life, I am using all of my artwork and creativity. Every day I am working at creating art sometimes until 3am. I am fighting for my life.”

— “In New York and Tokyo I’ve had different times where I’ve committed myself to different mental institutions. I’ve gone through these periods, but I’ve recovered. It’s a struggle every day. As you can see I’m in my wheelchair because I damaged my legs. They all told me it’s because I’ve been doing too much art.”

— “I live in an institution and today I come to you from that institution and the doctor made me carry with me, the pills. But I do think as a I approach the end of my life and I glimpse death I think I will be able to, in the end, rise above the clouds and climb the stairs to heaven and look down on my glorious life.”

— Ashton Cooper (@ashton_cooper)

(Photo: Ashton Cooper)