Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama Is ‘Kardashian-izing’ The Art World, And The Smithsonian’s Hirschhorn Museum Is Helping

Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama Is ‘Kardashian-izing’ The Art World, And The Smithsonian’s Hirschhorn Museum Is Helping


“Is this the line for the narcissism exhibit?” That thought crossed my mind on more than one occasion as I snaked through a series of queues outside the Hirshhorn Museum one recent morning. I wanted to see a new exhibit by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, coming but five years after her last display at the Hirshhorn.

On second thought, I didn’t want to see the exhibit, so much as I felt compelled to walk through its galleries before writing my critique. Experiencing the most recent showing didn’t change my opinion: Kusama has “Kardashian-ized” the art world.

Appeal to Vanity

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One question about the show seems obvious: Why would a gallery put on the second major exhibition of an artist’s work in five years? Artists such

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