Yayoi Kusama's No. A is a key painting executed during a period in the artist's career when she was producing work that not only had undeniable visual power but also were remarkably prescient in their anticipation of movements in American art that were to follow. Elements of her work from this very early time in her two decade-long stay in the United States seem to demonstrate a remarkable premonition of the soft-sculptures of Claes Oldenburg, installation and performance art of Andy Warhol and the art-as-commodity of Jeff Koons.
Kusama arrived in New York from Japan just months before executing the present work and was determined to find her artistic voice after being raised in a country where artistic traditions had been codified for centuries and many young artists struggled to embrace coexisting identities such as being avant-garde, modern and Japanese.
The start of that journey is clearly visible in the painting No. A, a powerful and intense, yet hauntingly delicate canvas that gives light to a unique mixing of the traditional and the modern. Kusama has described the work she produced in the first few years after she arrived in the United States as nets or veils that separate her from others and the current work offers a unique insight into the mind of an artist whose career mirrored one of the most fascinating periods of modern history.