Whitney Offers a Sneak Peek of Upcoming Yayoi Kusama Doc, ‘Princess of Polka Dots’

Still from ‘Kusama: Princess of Polka Dots,’ 2012. (Courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art)

The Whitney just uploaded a short preview of Heather Lenz’s upcoming documentary, Kusama: Princess of Polka Dots, about Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, in anticipation of the film’s July 12 release. The museum is currently hosting a retrospective of Ms. Kusama’s work.

The film takes viewers from her childhood in Japan to her arrival in New York and her breakout 1966 exhibition “Peepshow/Endless Love Show” at Castellane Gallery, for which the artist painted the gallery black and outfitted it with mirrors, a frenetic light installation and windows you could look through. That exhibition “did the job,” according to gallerist Richard Castellane. The 83-year-old artist, dressed in a red and white polka-dotted outfit, also mulls over her various obsessions—her “phallus obsessions” and “obsessions of fear”—and broaches the subject of her mental illness, which she attributes to her painting work. It’s a beautiful preview, and one that will have you running up to see the Whitney’s show, “Fireflies on the Water,” which opened June 13.