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Kusama: The Graphic Novel

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From rural Japan to international icon – Yayoi Kusama has spent her remarkable life immersed in her art. Follow her incredible journey in this vivid graphic biography which details her bold departure from Japan as a young artist, her embrace of the buzzing New York art scene in the 1960s, and her eventual return home and rise to twenty-first century super-fame.


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From rural Japan to international icon – Yayoi Kusama has spent her remarkable life immersed in her art. Follow her incredible journey in this vivid graphic biography which details her bold departure from Japan as a young artist, her embrace of the buzzing New York art scene in the 1960s, and her eventual return home and rise to twenty-first century super-fame.

30 review for Kusama: The Graphic Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    "You see these empty hands? One day they'll hold everything I want." I did four years as an art major, and never once heard the name Yayoi Kusama. That's a crying shame, 'cause she's had a fascinating life. She hung out with Dali and Warhol, created installations, and even staged a few orgies - in the name of art, of course, as she was personally disgusted by sex. But, oh, she had inner demons that drove her to create, an issue that this graphic novel explores quite beautifully. Macellari follows K "You see these empty hands? One day they'll hold everything I want." I did four years as an art major, and never once heard the name Yayoi Kusama. That's a crying shame, 'cause she's had a fascinating life. She hung out with Dali and Warhol, created installations, and even staged a few orgies - in the name of art, of course, as she was personally disgusted by sex. But, oh, she had inner demons that drove her to create, an issue that this graphic novel explores quite beautifully. Macellari follows Kusama from her unhappy girlhood in Japan, through her rise to fame in sixties, to the current day. (The artist is now 91.) It's a fascinating look at both the art world and mental illness, and the artwork is stunning. I love the limited palette, and the repeating patterns. This book is a work of art in itself. *Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a glance at this lovely title.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    I know the struggle is real. The more your family, especially when it's your parents, when they are against what you live for. When you have your dreams pushing you to love more and work more and achieve more; When no one dear and close to you are the worse mortal enemies no one sees; When you actually suffer every waking moment of your life when you struggle with being yourself; Mental health, identity, being born as a woman, a profession taken to be as men's - all these issues are represented and i I know the struggle is real. The more your family, especially when it's your parents, when they are against what you live for. When you have your dreams pushing you to love more and work more and achieve more; When no one dear and close to you are the worse mortal enemies no one sees; When you actually suffer every waking moment of your life when you struggle with being yourself; Mental health, identity, being born as a woman, a profession taken to be as men's - all these issues are represented and illustrated quite well. I would not allow myself to judge what artists do what they do for their work as their work as they art. I would not judge an artist for their life or their personal relationships. An amazingly done biographical book. Dark and sad but captivating! Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    I have to confess I had never heard of the artist Yayoi Kusama, which probably says a lot about how people of colour are still systematically "forgotten" in art history. Kusama was quite a prolific artist in the 60s in New York, giving her whole life over to her art, which basically was a way to subdue her mental health issues. During the 70s she moved back to her country of birth, Japan, and basically was forgotten about until the late 80s. This biographical graphic novel (biogravel?) tells her s I have to confess I had never heard of the artist Yayoi Kusama, which probably says a lot about how people of colour are still systematically "forgotten" in art history. Kusama was quite a prolific artist in the 60s in New York, giving her whole life over to her art, which basically was a way to subdue her mental health issues. During the 70s she moved back to her country of birth, Japan, and basically was forgotten about until the late 80s. This biographical graphic novel (biogravel?) tells her story, in exquisite, fine art. Sometimes the integration of an artist's art into a graphic novel can be clumsy - that is not the case here, where the book's art and Kusama's art easily flow into eachother. Kusama's story is very moving, and her mental health problems are depicted with a lot of care. I'm still shocked at the thought that someone like her has managed to slip through history's net. Read this book. (Received an ARC through Edelweiss)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Caro the Helmet Lady

    Simply beautiful even if very short.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    Way back in December, before all of this COVID-19 stuff started, I took the kids to visit an installation by Kusama at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. It as an immersive experience where you were broken into small groups and stepped into a mirrored room full of polka dot protrusions. Amazing stuff. So, when I saw that a new graphic biography of the artist was being released I decided to check it out. Yayoi Kusama was born in Japan and moved to the US in the late 1950's to pursue her Way back in December, before all of this COVID-19 stuff started, I took the kids to visit an installation by Kusama at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. It as an immersive experience where you were broken into small groups and stepped into a mirrored room full of polka dot protrusions. Amazing stuff. So, when I saw that a new graphic biography of the artist was being released I decided to check it out. Yayoi Kusama was born in Japan and moved to the US in the late 1950's to pursue her art career. For most of her life she had experienced psychiatric issues and some of this obviously had some impact on her art. She was a contemporary with Warhol in NYC and her provocative art sometimes included performance pieces featuring naked models on the streets of New York. This is a great read for anyone interested in Kusama or in art in general. The art work is in a limited color palette featuring primarily reds and turquoises and is stunning. The books starts out with a style more similar to classical Japanese art and shifts to be more of Kusama's own unique style as the book progresses. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Neha

    3.5 ⭐️ Following the prolific Yayoi Kusama from birth to old age, we see her struggling with breaking free of the confines of Japanese normality. At young she is discouraged from pursuing art by her parents but her love for art transcends all. Her longest relationship is with art and has always been in the forefront in her life. We follow her life through her successes and personal hardships. We see her struggling with battle with mental illness which I thought was some wonderfully. The art in th 3.5 ⭐️ Following the prolific Yayoi Kusama from birth to old age, we see her struggling with breaking free of the confines of Japanese normality. At young she is discouraged from pursuing art by her parents but her love for art transcends all. Her longest relationship is with art and has always been in the forefront in her life. We follow her life through her successes and personal hardships. We see her struggling with battle with mental illness which I thought was some wonderfully. The art in this graphic novel was beautiful and really embodies Kusama‘s essence. The colours did a great job converting her inner feeling. We can see a change in colour palette from her childhood to adulthood in New York. As her style evolves, so does the style in the book. In the beginning the comic is confined to boxes but as it progresses it becomes more free flowing and grander, exactly like Kasuma. I would give the art a 5/5. I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in art or the artist.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    2.5 rounded up A quick read providing a brief biography of the artist. The illustrations were fun and I liked how they - and the colour scheme - took inspiration from Kusama's work, although I felt that the text itself was lacking in places and would have been better if it had been beefed up with a bit more information about her work and background. Thank you Netgalley and Laurence King Publishing Ltd for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 rounded up A quick read providing a brief biography of the artist. The illustrations were fun and I liked how they - and the colour scheme - took inspiration from Kusama's work, although I felt that the text itself was lacking in places and would have been better if it had been beefed up with a bit more information about her work and background. Thank you Netgalley and Laurence King Publishing Ltd for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marium Mostafiz Mou

    Unfortunately, I didn't have any inkling about Yayoi Kusama. Thanks, Netgalley to introduce me to such an inspiring artist's struggle. The artwork of this book is quite fascinating and I think portrayal of her work in this book will amuse many artists. The only letdown I have felt are the texts. The plot seems unfinished and It does not give any background how Kusama had got the fame from her struggle. Overall, it's a brief biography of Kusama with amusing artwork which you can read in almost one Unfortunately, I didn't have any inkling about Yayoi Kusama. Thanks, Netgalley to introduce me to such an inspiring artist's struggle. The artwork of this book is quite fascinating and I think portrayal of her work in this book will amuse many artists. The only letdown I have felt are the texts. The plot seems unfinished and It does not give any background how Kusama had got the fame from her struggle. Overall, it's a brief biography of Kusama with amusing artwork which you can read in almost one hour.

  9. 4 out of 5

    aqilahreads

    i enjoyed reading this so much!!!!! i love kusama's works and have been reading her art books for leisure + inspiration. i first got to know more about kusama back in 2019, when i had the opportunity to catch her documentary film called "kusama:infinity". i cried - was so fascinated and inspired by everything she does. so to come across its first graphic novel is SUCH A GEM and definitely brings bACK ALL THE FEELS. when i was reading, i also thought of the people who have not really heard of kus i enjoyed reading this so much!!!!! i love kusama's works and have been reading her art books for leisure + inspiration. i first got to know more about kusama back in 2019, when i had the opportunity to catch her documentary film called "kusama:infinity". i cried - was so fascinated and inspired by everything she does. so to come across its first graphic novel is SUCH A GEM and definitely brings bACK ALL THE FEELS. when i was reading, i also thought of the people who have not really heard of kusama/not familiar with her works and how would they feel if they read this book. even though it went through most of the events that kusama went through in her life, i felt that there are more things that could have been elaborated in here so i guess this is more for readers who are just looking for a brief introduction about kusama's life. overall, i would highly recommend to watch the documentary first so that you would be able to fully appreciate elisa's illustrations and of course, kusama's incredible journey.

  10. 4 out of 5

    farith

    thanks to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. kusama is a graphic biography of the contemporary artist yayoi kusama. we're invited into her life to learn the struggles she had to bear since she was born. starting from growing up in an extremely conservative rural japanese town, to earning her place in america, it is clear that nothing was easy for her. kusama fought against the prejudices that dominated her era and, through her art, manif thanks to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. kusama is a graphic biography of the contemporary artist yayoi kusama. we're invited into her life to learn the struggles she had to bear since she was born. starting from growing up in an extremely conservative rural japanese town, to earning her place in america, it is clear that nothing was easy for her. kusama fought against the prejudices that dominated her era and, through her art, manifested a message of gender equality and freedom of expression. we can see how ahead of time she was with her nude performances that encouraged the exploration of sexual orientation. besides all of that, the art from this graphic novel was excellent and did a great resemblance to kusama's real art. i recommend this to anyone who is interested in reading about her life and the battles women had to fight in the art world where men took advantage of them in order to beneficiate financially (like stealing their ideas and taking credit for their work.)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    I was wholly ignorant of the life and career of artist Yayoi Kusama before picking up this book from the library. Because of the "Graphic Novel" subtitle, I actually thought I was getting a work of fiction, not biographical. So no, despite the cover image, this is not a reboot of Richie Rich's pal, Little Dot. Macellari glides through Kusama's life, from her childhood in Japan to her artistic development and peak during a stay in the U.S.A. in the 1960s and '70s, when she hangs with Andy Warhol a I was wholly ignorant of the life and career of artist Yayoi Kusama before picking up this book from the library. Because of the "Graphic Novel" subtitle, I actually thought I was getting a work of fiction, not biographical. So no, despite the cover image, this is not a reboot of Richie Rich's pal, Little Dot. Macellari glides through Kusama's life, from her childhood in Japan to her artistic development and peak during a stay in the U.S.A. in the 1960s and '70s, when she hangs with Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, pushing boundaries with her phallic sculptures, installation pieces, and the nudity and sexuality of the performance art pieces she directed. The focus is on Kusama's work, with vague mention of the mental health issues that led to her dropping out of the spotlight upon her return to Japan, where she has spent decades living in a hospital while continuing to produce art and attending periodic revivals of her work. I'm left tantalized if unsatisfied, but I'm happy for the introduction to this fascinating individual.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heym

    This version of Kusama’s life, while being more akin to a hagiography than a biography, really provided great insight into her life and the New York art scene. Unknowingly, I think the author may have even underscored the presence of Taijin kyofusho, a Japanese culture bound syndrome that is based on the intense fear that one’s body parts or functions displease , embarrass, or are offensive to others. This paired with the early events of the artist’s life gives the reader a doorway into understa This version of Kusama’s life, while being more akin to a hagiography than a biography, really provided great insight into her life and the New York art scene. Unknowingly, I think the author may have even underscored the presence of Taijin kyofusho, a Japanese culture bound syndrome that is based on the intense fear that one’s body parts or functions displease , embarrass, or are offensive to others. This paired with the early events of the artist’s life gives the reader a doorway into understanding Yayoi’s art and personality on a deeper level. I loved how the artist’s style works cohesively with that of Kusama herself, also representation of different cultures with respect to the timeline and portrayal of mental illnesses was so refreshing. I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend this artist and her work to the people around me. As is the case with most great artists, she remains severely underappreciated. To me, she was years ahead of her time, representing not only sexuality as the spectrum it is, but also using art for what it was meant to be- a way to express and deal with one’s emotions.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Kusama was a magical and visually-enriching read which left me wanting more. I must admit my ignorance first of all as I wasn't aware of this incredibly talented Japanese artist beforehand :( but since then I have been reading more about Yayoi Kusama's life and her artwork which is stunning! This graphic novel depicts Kusama's life as a child through to the height of her fame in USA where her fans included Dali and Warhol, and afterwards when she returned to Japan after her health declined. Despi Kusama was a magical and visually-enriching read which left me wanting more. I must admit my ignorance first of all as I wasn't aware of this incredibly talented Japanese artist beforehand :( but since then I have been reading more about Yayoi Kusama's life and her artwork which is stunning! This graphic novel depicts Kusama's life as a child through to the height of her fame in USA where her fans included Dali and Warhol, and afterwards when she returned to Japan after her health declined. Despite the artwork being a glorious feast for the senses, this work discusses the artist's fragile mental health which at times is very hard to read but is ultimately beautifully handled. Kusama is about following your dreams, pursuing your own path in life, about belonging and feeling alone, acceptance and embracing change and making the art that you want to. It's an inspiring story with vivid illustrations which sums up the equally vivid and free-spirited Yayoi Kusama!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Menezes

    I just enjoyed reading this! To be honest, until I finished reading this book, I wasn't familiar with the artist Yayoi Kusama and her work. But once I finished, I did look up on the internet about her work. The author has done an amazing job in depicting Kusama's style of work. To a common admirer like me, her art is full of fun. But once I read this biography my appreciation for her work has no words especially considering the troubled imagination from which her work spawned. Yayoi Kusama's sto I just enjoyed reading this! To be honest, until I finished reading this book, I wasn't familiar with the artist Yayoi Kusama and her work. But once I finished, I did look up on the internet about her work. The author has done an amazing job in depicting Kusama's style of work. To a common admirer like me, her art is full of fun. But once I read this biography my appreciation for her work has no words especially considering the troubled imagination from which her work spawned. Yayoi Kusama's story is classic example of- how believing in your dreams irrespective of what anyone thinks and pursuing them with hard work, will definitely lead you to the path of success. Thank You to NetGalley and Laurence King Publishing for this ARC!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mehsi

    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. I knew I had to try out this book, a graphic novel about a great artist? Sign me up. Plus, the cover was just fantastic and captured the Kusama perfectly. This one is about mental health, about dreams, about family, about finding your way in the world, setting your own path. It was beautifully drawn, and there was also text accompanying the illustrations to tell us more and give us dialogue. We see how Kusama lives in a strict fam I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. I knew I had to try out this book, a graphic novel about a great artist? Sign me up. Plus, the cover was just fantastic and captured the Kusama perfectly. This one is about mental health, about dreams, about family, about finding your way in the world, setting your own path. It was beautifully drawn, and there was also text accompanying the illustrations to tell us more and give us dialogue. We see how Kusama lives in a strict family, a father who cheats on his wife, a mother who is horrible and mean (at least in my eyes because no parent would do the things she did). We see how Kusama hears things that aren’t there/shouldn’t talk. We see her lose herself in her art and try to make something out of it as she definitely isn’t letting her mom’s opinions take over and I loved that. I loved that she went out to find someone to get her out of the country, to free herself from the shackles of her family. We see how her mental health affects her. I already read some about Kusama and her mental health but seeing it drawn is a total different story. I think the author did a great job on illustrating the mental health parts. I loved seeing various other artists who knew/know Kusama, like Salvador Dali. OK, there was one scene that had me laughing and that was when Joseph called. How in heavens name is the phone staying on her head like that? Believe me, that is not how phones work. 😛 The book was amazing and we see her from young to old, we see her whole journey and history and it while this book was just 126 pages it never felt rushed. Every part of Kusama’s history gets a spot. Wonderfully done! I would highly recommend this one. Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Willis

    A graphic novel about the artist Yayoi Kusama. It was interesting to find out a little more about her and I thought the illustrations fit her art very well. An interesting way to read a biography embedded in the art.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Radwa

    I have to admit that I've never even heard of this artist or her journey before reading this graphic biography of hers. I love pop colors and her style is energetic, fun, and its circumstances are different. I always love reading women's success stories and especially if they face struggles to achieve what they want, and Kusama being from a conservative family in Japan, to do what she did in New York, was quite impressive. After reading it, I looked for her art online and I have to say the the gra I have to admit that I've never even heard of this artist or her journey before reading this graphic biography of hers. I love pop colors and her style is energetic, fun, and its circumstances are different. I always love reading women's success stories and especially if they face struggles to achieve what they want, and Kusama being from a conservative family in Japan, to do what she did in New York, was quite impressive. After reading it, I looked for her art online and I have to say the the graphic novel is quite true to her style and her iconic paintings. I thank Netgalley for the digital ARC.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rogene Carter

    I believe one would be hard-pressed to find a more suitable form to illustrate such a magnificent and inspiring life. The artwork and immersive storytelling were very well-done.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Moira Macfarlane

    🔴 Yayoi Kusama (1929, Japan) lives her work to the fullest. She suffers from obsessive anxiety and a sense of anguish that would never leave her. Like herself is her work, psychedelic, image and action, infinity and reflection. Total obliteration. Macellari (1981, Italy) captured these aspects of her very well. She uses just enough words to support the story, that is a very visual one where you connect through the imagery in which she uses multiple layers to tell her story, also in the choice of 🔴 Yayoi Kusama (1929, Japan) lives her work to the fullest. She suffers from obsessive anxiety and a sense of anguish that would never leave her. Like herself is her work, psychedelic, image and action, infinity and reflection. Total obliteration. Macellari (1981, Italy) captured these aspects of her very well. She uses just enough words to support the story, that is a very visual one where you connect through the imagery in which she uses multiple layers to tell her story, also in the choice of her colours and the subtle return of main motives. It is even a good idea to sometimes pick up the book and hold it close to your eyes and disappear into the pictures as you would have done with one of Kusama's infinity nets. I adored the artwork in this graphic novel, the clear lineation, the colour palette. Of course, there are all the familiarities of Kusama's work. The dots, the red, the phalluses, the pumpkins, mirrors, performances and statements she made. But reading it a second time I noticed how delicate she integrated Japanese prints in the story backgrounds and how well she made visual connections between experiences Kusama had as a child and her following work at the end of the book. The only thing I really missed were the last decades of Kusama's life, don't get me wrong the final panels were grand, but I would have liked it if those last years had at least been pictured in a couple of extra pages. It might be due to arrangements made with Kusama as she is still alive though. 🔴 Yayoi Kusama (1929, Matsumoto, Japan), who was a self-described “obsessional artist,” known for her extensive use of polka dots and for her infinity installations. She employed painting, sculpture, performance art, and installations in a variety of styles, including Pop art and Minimalism. This graphic novel is an introduction to her life and work. Voor een inkijkje: https://www.instagram.com/p/CNNSqhUri1f/

  20. 5 out of 5

    Surbhi Sinha

    Kusama: The Graphic Novel by Elisa Macellari is a biography on the well known Avant-garde sculptor, painter and novelist - Yayoi Kusama. So it makes sense that it's a graphical biography. I'll admit at this point that I wasn't aware of who Yayoi Kusama is before reading this novel. Elisa Macellari through this book has fan-girled and showcased her love for the artist. The story of Yayoi's life has been beautifully illustrated and told in the simplest of ways. For those who like me are unaware of Kusama: The Graphic Novel by Elisa Macellari is a biography on the well known Avant-garde sculptor, painter and novelist - Yayoi Kusama. So it makes sense that it's a graphical biography. I'll admit at this point that I wasn't aware of who Yayoi Kusama is before reading this novel. Elisa Macellari through this book has fan-girled and showcased her love for the artist. The story of Yayoi's life has been beautifully illustrated and told in the simplest of ways. For those who like me are unaware of who Yayoi Kusama is, let's talk a little about the subject of this book. Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist, sometimes referred to as ‘the princess of polka dots'. She moved from Japan to America in 1957. Although she makes all sorts of art – paintings, sculptures, performances and installations – they all have one thing in common: DOTS! The novel beautifully illustrated the major events in her life which led her to where she is today. From a girl whose own mother would tear up her art work, to dealing with hallucinations (which led to her using only polka dots) throughout her life and other severe mental disorders too, Yayoi Kusama is an inspiration to many! She is bold, she is fearless and she is talented as hell. I've always known that polka dots were a huge thing during the 70s but how did they become so popular and how did thousands of circles put together become such a huge thing? I found out through this story and I have been in complete awe of the entire concept since. I rate this novel 3.5 out of 5 bookmarks. The illustrations were brilliant, a perfect ode to the illustrator's inspiration. The story telling flowed smoothly. This book is fabulous not because of how IT is, rather it's fabulous because it'll make you fall in love and be in awe of Yayoi Kusama too! But I also felt like it lacked some major descriptions about the subject too, one example is her take on pumpkins which is a major inspiration to some of her art pieces. But I still highly recommend giving this graphic novel a read, it'll hardly take you more than one sitting and will leave you mesmerized by Kusama's journey to fame and excellence. I'd like to thank Netgalley and Laurence King Publishing for providing me with a copy in lieu of an honest review. I'd also like to congratulate and thank the author – Elisa Macalleri for introducing me to Kusama's art and her journey!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    thank you so much to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC! this graphic novel was so beautiful. i’m a longtime fan of yayoi kusama and it was eye opening to read this experience of her life. the illustrations were gorgeous and i loved the color palette! it was a quick and easy read with some really lovely art to accompany it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vaiomo ♡

    Thank you to the publisher for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review. I really loved this. Especially the art style. It's so unique an captivating. The story is quite dark but yet beautiful. It really shows that when you have a dream and you pursue it, it doesn't matter what your parents or family members think. They will be proud of your achievements in the end no matter what. So don't let their prejudice make you choose your path around the world. I thought this read was very fun Thank you to the publisher for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review. I really loved this. Especially the art style. It's so unique an captivating. The story is quite dark but yet beautiful. It really shows that when you have a dream and you pursue it, it doesn't matter what your parents or family members think. They will be proud of your achievements in the end no matter what. So don't let their prejudice make you choose your path around the world. I thought this read was very fun and well paced and would recommend it very much.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Divine Anas

    I've always been enchanted with Kusama's works when I started following an art page in Twitter uplifting art by women. This graphic biography lends a creative lens on the life of the eccentric Yayoi Kusama. Like most artists, Kusama's parents wasn't supportive of her artistic pursuits forcing her to forge her own path. The stereotype that artists have to be mentally ill and penniless isn't that baseless after all as Yayoi was in the throes of a serious illness all throughout her life. Art became I've always been enchanted with Kusama's works when I started following an art page in Twitter uplifting art by women. This graphic biography lends a creative lens on the life of the eccentric Yayoi Kusama. Like most artists, Kusama's parents wasn't supportive of her artistic pursuits forcing her to forge her own path. The stereotype that artists have to be mentally ill and penniless isn't that baseless after all as Yayoi was in the throes of a serious illness all throughout her life. Art became her reprieve and a way for her to process her ideas and emotions. The only installation I know of Kusama before was the one with phalluses and polka dots as well as the pumpkins. Her other eccentric works are highlighted here as well and we even get to see renowned artists like Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol! I have no idea that they were friends but this just goes to show how women of color are more often than not forgotten in the art scene. While I like the overall aesthetic and art style of the graphic biography, I felt like there's so many details left out and even Kusama's inclination to pumpkins weren't given some spotlight here! I know for a fact she identifies as one 😂 I really wished that the writing expounded more of her life. All in all this was a great read and I'm very thankful for Laurence King Publishing for sending me an eARC of this.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Kusama is probably the most famous artist that no one outside of the art world, has ever heard of. And yet, we all know about Andy Worhal, who was a rival and a contemporary. This short biographical graphic novel goes over her life, from her point of view, full of dots, always dots, because that is what she is famous for. We go over how she left Japan, and made it to the United States to make her mark on the world. And her mark, other than little dots, was dots on people, performance art. And she Kusama is probably the most famous artist that no one outside of the art world, has ever heard of. And yet, we all know about Andy Worhal, who was a rival and a contemporary. This short biographical graphic novel goes over her life, from her point of view, full of dots, always dots, because that is what she is famous for. We go over how she left Japan, and made it to the United States to make her mark on the world. And her mark, other than little dots, was dots on people, performance art. And she is still alive, 91 years old. Amazing woman, based on what little the book goes into of her life. Wrote to Georgia O'Keeffe to help her get into the art world. Highly recommended as a way for others to learn about this amazing artist, and seek out more information about her, just as I did after reading this. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kirby

    Wow, I adored this graphic novel. The polka dots are iconic but I didn't know Kusama's history and the novel makes me crave more about her endeavors. Her troubled history, her dalliances with household names Warhol, etc., her nudist activism - fascinating, all of it and I'm ashamed I didn't know more about her. Thank you for opening my eyes. This graphic novel is beautiful and would make a wonderful gift for anyone and everyone. Wow, I adored this graphic novel. The polka dots are iconic but I didn't know Kusama's history and the novel makes me crave more about her endeavors. Her troubled history, her dalliances with household names Warhol, etc., her nudist activism - fascinating, all of it and I'm ashamed I didn't know more about her. Thank you for opening my eyes. This graphic novel is beautiful and would make a wonderful gift for anyone and everyone.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

    "Kusama", by Elisa Macellari, is a graphic novel exploring the life and art of contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Originally published in Italian, it was translated into English by Edward Fortes. Prior to reading this graphic novel I was not familiar with Kusama's art or life, so this was a very interesting experience. Kusama was born in the late 20's in a small town in Japan. Throughout her childhood and her young adulthood, her family opposed her painting and her love of art. In additio "Kusama", by Elisa Macellari, is a graphic novel exploring the life and art of contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Originally published in Italian, it was translated into English by Edward Fortes. Prior to reading this graphic novel I was not familiar with Kusama's art or life, so this was a very interesting experience. Kusama was born in the late 20's in a small town in Japan. Throughout her childhood and her young adulthood, her family opposed her painting and her love of art. In addition, it appears that they were also a dysfunctional family, with marital issues. Naturally this affected her mentally, and throughout her life her love-hate relationship with her parents affected not only her art, but also her approach to human relationships. Apart from the tumultuous life, Kusama also dealt with the expectations that the patriarchal Japanese society at the time was setting for her. To be able to pursuit her love of art, she moved to New York City, where she became a prolific artist and got involved in political art movements against war. The illustrations in the graphic novel depict her style very well. After finishing the graphic novel I felt compelled to research this artist more, and I was very happy to learn that she is still alive, in her 90s. A lot of artists are recognized after their death, so it is refreshing to see that Japan recognized her talent while she is still alive. All in all, I enjoyed the experience of reading this graphic novel. I feel it could have gone a little more in depth in exploring Kusama's inspiration and her political principles. It did make me interested in researching more about her, though, so I need to give credit where credit is due. If you are a person interested in art, and the life of artists, I definitely recommend this one. It's a very quick read and a good introduction to Kusama's art and life. Thank you to NetGalley and Laurence King Publishing Ltd for the opportunity to read a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for my honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steph Myers

    I enjoyed learning a little more about Kusama, who I only knew about peripherally with relation to NY Happenings of the 1960s. The color-scheme and minimal text add to the enigma of Kusama and made me want to learn even more. I have some books on request. Quick read. Fascinating lady.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    My only familiarity with this artist's work was from two picture book biographies that I recently read. The books for small children refer to Kusama's avant-garde art in age-appropriate ways, emphasizing the infinity dots and the pumpkins instead of phallic symbols and nude bodies, so I was not prepared for the level of sexual imagery and detail that would appear in this adult graphic novel biography. I might not have read it if I had known, but aside from that, I greatly enjoyed this book. It i My only familiarity with this artist's work was from two picture book biographies that I recently read. The books for small children refer to Kusama's avant-garde art in age-appropriate ways, emphasizing the infinity dots and the pumpkins instead of phallic symbols and nude bodies, so I was not prepared for the level of sexual imagery and detail that would appear in this adult graphic novel biography. I might not have read it if I had known, but aside from that, I greatly enjoyed this book. It is well-designed and informative, and I enjoyed learning more about Kusama's background, frustrated relationship with her parents, and mental health issues, which the books for younger readers glossed over. This book is beautifully designed, with vibrant art that evokes her style while still remaining unique, and even though I visually skimmed past the nudity, I pored over other pages, noticing all the vivid details and the interplay between different colors. This is a beautiful, artistic book, and the presentation suits the subject matter. I would highly recommend this to fans of Kusama's art, and it is also a great introduction to her life and work for people who are nor familiar with her. However, people who share my preference for avoiding nude art should know that this book includes a lot of it. Also, another significant trigger warning is that (view spoiler)[in an early scene from the artist's childhood, she sees her father in bed with another woman and is traumatized by this. The implication is that her later phobias about sexuality and preoccupation with it in her art stemmed from this horrifying experience. The scene that she beholds is illustrated vaguely, with no sex organs visible, but is still drawn to be disturbing. (hide spoiler)] This is an interesting, informative book, and I am glad that I read it, but it definitely falls outside of my usual content preferences. I was able to visually skim past parts, and didn't feel particularly uncomfortable, but I know that I would have had a very different experience with this several years ago, and would give a heads up to parents and teenagers that even though this book is on an accessible reading level for middle grade and up, it involves content that not all families or individuals will be comfortable with. I received a temporary digital copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Halley

    Every moment I spent reading through this graphic novel memoir of artist Yayoi Kusama felt like a dream. The color palette is limited, and yet the illustrations seemed to... grow? through the story as Kusama's world expanded. I practically felt myself falling into them, which is appropriate I think considering the scope of her actual work. The topic of mental health was addressed respectfully, showing only what Kusama herself was experiencing and feeling. My one and only frustration with reading Every moment I spent reading through this graphic novel memoir of artist Yayoi Kusama felt like a dream. The color palette is limited, and yet the illustrations seemed to... grow? through the story as Kusama's world expanded. I practically felt myself falling into them, which is appropriate I think considering the scope of her actual work. The topic of mental health was addressed respectfully, showing only what Kusama herself was experiencing and feeling. My one and only frustration with reading this was that it was a digital copy and that I WANTED the book in my hands. The images are so pigmented that I could practically smell the ink coming off of the screen, and I think a physical copy, the feel of the paper, would only add to the whole reading experience here. I see me buying myself a copy on release, and likely buying a copy for a few other choice friends! I was provided a digital copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Matthews

    This graphic novel felt like the literary equivalent of fan art. It is essentially a love letter to the artist Yayoi Kusama who reached the height of her success at a time when the industry was dominated by men. As a Japanese woman, Kusama struggled with the values instilled in her by her traditional and conservative parents and you can see how the art and installations she created in the 1960s were in direct response to that. The book also explores the dissociative episodes that Kusama endures This graphic novel felt like the literary equivalent of fan art. It is essentially a love letter to the artist Yayoi Kusama who reached the height of her success at a time when the industry was dominated by men. As a Japanese woman, Kusama struggled with the values instilled in her by her traditional and conservative parents and you can see how the art and installations she created in the 1960s were in direct response to that. The book also explores the dissociative episodes that Kusama endures throughout her life and how these episodes affected her work which was interesting to read about. I really enjoyed the art style and colour palette used in this work, I found it hypnotic, almost calming and it caused me to seek out Kusama's work to better understand the author's influences. I was happy to discover that this book was translated from the Italian which was very welcome especially during Women in Translation month. Unfortunately, I couldn't give this book a full 5 stars because its content felt a little thin. We skim over long periods of Kusama's life and I feel I learned as much about her life as I would have done by reading her Wikipedia page. This is likely because, while the author is a fan, they don't seem to have access to Kusama/her friends and family so there are no real insights into Kusama as a woman at least not as far as I could tell. It made me interested to learn more about Kusama though and was an excellent start to my learning about a woman who seems to have been hugely important for modern art.

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