On View

Ladder

Photo Credit: Richard Sanders, Des Moines

Ladder

Artist: Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, born 1929)
Date: 1963
Medium: Mixed media
Dimensions:
Overall: 66 x 26 x 38 in. (167.6 x 66 x 96.5 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of Hanford Yang, New York, 1970.38
Accession number: 1970.38
Classification: sculpture
Label TextThroughout a long and prolific career, Yayoi Kusama maintains that the primary theme of her work, an endless repetition of form and shape, exists not as a creative choice but a necessary act used to control the symptoms of a mental disorder. As a child, Kusama battled with visual hallucinations of patterns covering entire rooms and overtaking her. To combat this, she used art, obsessively repeating minute patterns and forms to create a reality she could control. In the early 1960s, she began a series of “Compulsion Furniture,” of which Ladder is one. Ladders, chairs, and other everyday objects were covered in shoes and stuffed, phallic forms, and then thickly laden with white or off-white paint. This process not only fulfilled the artist’s obsessive-compulsive drive, but simultaneously defies male dominance by appropriating sexually-charged symbols. The resulting “furniture” objects relate to Pop art in their incorporation of common domestic items (found furniture, socks, and shoes), but also stand as physical manifestations of Kusama’s uniquely troubled aesthetic.
Exhibition History"Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950-1980", The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 13,2017 - January 14, 2018.

"Art of the 60's," Selections from the Collection of Handford Yang, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Sept. 29 - Dec. 22, 1968
Published References"Art of the 60's," The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, 1968, exh. cat. no.45, ill. p.12

Polizzotti, Mark ed. DELIRIOUS. New York: The MEtropolitan Museum of Art, 2017.

DES MOINES ART CENTER: SELECTED PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES AND WORKS ON PAPER, Des Moines Art Center, 1985, ref. p.136

"Yayoi Kusama", Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, 201, pg.81
entirely unexpected