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  • Feb 04, 2013

Yayoi Kusama Says Sayonara to Gagosian


On February 2, Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo announced that Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama officially ended her partnership with Gagosian Gallery, confirming suspicions that her departure was imminent.

Kusama will remain with her main gallery, Ota Fine Arts, as well as Victoria Miro, London. However, it is unknown which gallery in the United States will next represent one of Japan’s most important postwar artists.

Kusama’s withdrawal marks the latest blow to the Gagosian empire, following the departure of Damien Hirst from the gallery and Jeff Koons’ decision to exhibit at Chelsea rival David Zwirner. Larry Gagosian, the gallery owner, in addition, faces two lawsuits—one for selling a Lichtenstein painting without the owner’s consent and another for pocketing excessive profit from client Ronald O. Perelman. 

Gagosian loses Kusama at the height of her career. In 2012, she was the subject of a major international retrospective organized by Tate Modern which already toured four major countries, collaborated with Louis Vuitton on a new line of fashion products and published her diary in English. Kusama shows no signs of slowing down. The South American leg of her retrospective kicks off at Malba­–Fundación Costantini in Buenos Aires in June.

In the recent press release, Kusama comments, “I want to paint more and more—ten-thousands more. I want to keep making my art even after I die.” In the flashy enterprise that is the contemporary art market, that also represents “more and more—ten-thousands more” dollars that Gagosian now won't be making.    

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