Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
From time to time, Christie's may offer a lot whic… Read more
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)

Macaroni Dress

Details
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
Macaroni Dress
acrylic, copper spray enamel, stuffed fabric and dried pasta on tutu
19 5/8 x 35 7/8 x 6 ¾in. (50 x 91 x 17cm.)
Executed in 1963
Provenance
Galerie Thelen, Cologne.
Galerie ad libitum, Antwerp.
Anon. sale, Christie's New York, 13 November 1998, lot 168.
Takeda Art Co., Tokyo.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2005.
Exhibited
Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art, Yayoi Kusama: Eternity-Modernity, 2004, pp. 268-269, no. 59 (illustrated in colour, p. 107).
Special notice

From time to time, Christie's may offer a lot which it owns in whole or in part. This is such a lot.
Post lot text
The work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the artist's studio.

Lot Essay

'Basically my idea and explorations on fashion have not changed, however I believe I’m going state-of-the-art on fashion.' YAYOI KUSAMA

‘The thought of continually eating something like macaroni, spat out by machinery, fills me with fear and revulsion, so I make macaroni sculptures. I make them and make them and then keep on making them, until I bury myself in the process. I call this obliteration.’ (Y. Kusama, quoted in Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, London 2011, p. 93).


Unrestrained by traditional sculptural processes, Macaroni Dress, 1963 is an early manifestation of Yayoi Kusama’s intention to dismantle the rhetoric of femininity. The white painted tutu is sprayed with copper on top of shimmering velvet fabric with dried macaroni pasta and numerous stuffed fabric phallic protrusions. At the same time, the work’s playful surface is held in tension with Kusama’s personal frustrations as a struggling female artist and foreigner in a chauvinistic and tightly circumscribed art community in New York. The artist retaliates by integrating a surplus of sexual overtones in Macaroni Dress, finding comfort in the meticulousness of her forms. Kusama refers to her macaroni and phallus-covered works as the Food Obsession Series and the Sex Obsession Series, and Macaroni Dress can be perceived as a collision of both. ‘The thought of continually eating something like macaroni, spat out by machinery, fills me with fear and revulsion, so I make macaroni sculptures. I make them and make them and then keep on making them, until I bury myself in the process. I call this obliteration’, the artist states (Y. Kusama, quoted in Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, London 2011, p. 93). Just as the phalli can be seen to represent Kusama’s fear of repression in a chauvinistic world, the macaroni can be seen to represent her disgust at the overabundance of food in the boom-time post-war years of the United States. The fabric covered dress can be situated decidedly within the context of the 1960s Sexual Revolution. Many of Kusama’s macaroni-covered objects and phallic incorporated works were displayed in her major retrospective in the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2012. In recent years Kusama has continued to design her own clothes, setting up her own fashion company, using motifs from her paintings on bespoke fabrics. She often complements her ensembles with brightly coloured wigs to complete the distinctive ‘Kusama look’. Macaroni Dress is emblematic of Kusama’s early iconic series, and as a part of her psychological and feminine-coded practice it foreshadows many of the developments that would follow shortly thereafter in feminist, performance and post-minimalist art.

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