ARTS & CULTURE

Meet Yayoi Kusama, The Woman Recently Dubbed The World's Most Famous Artist

04/08/2015 10:05 am ET | Updated Apr 08, 2015

yayoi kusama

Yayoi Kusama was born on March 22, 1929, in Matsumoto, Japan. At 10 years old, she began to experience hallucinations, specifically, of polka dots -- symbols that, to her, simultaneously represented earth, moon, sun and human beings. She channeled these visions into works of art, dizzying swarms of dots, dots and more dots. She'd later confess these shapes helped to "obliterate" her sense of self, allowing her to connect with the infinite universe.

Now, at 86 years old, the High Priestess of Polka Dots has the art world at her beck and call. In 2014, Kusama's retrospective "Infinite Obsession" was seen by over two million people. Now, a second Kusama retrospective is traveling through Asia, first in South Korea, then Taiwan and soon New Delhi.

According to these numbers, Yayoi Kusama had the highest global exhibition attendance of any artist in 2014, making her -- wait for it -- the most popular artist in the world. The Art Newspaper announced the news last week, meaning we finally have to accept that Kusama isn't just our obsession anymore. She's an international star.

kuam

There are infinite reasons to love dear Yayoi, from her soft phallic sculptures, stemming from a lifelong phobia of sex, to her polka dotted nude happenings, bridging the gap between body and artwork. There's the fact that gazing upon her paintings and installations gives viewers the otherworldly sensation of losing oneself to the surrounding noise, and somehow still finding peace. Not to mention her utter devotion to the life of an artist -- she still creates work daily despite voluntarily living at the Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill, where she has taken up permanent residence.

In honor of Kusama's now official reign over the art world, we've compiled some of our favorite Kusama quotations, so you can eat up her wisdom one digestible, mind-blowing nugget at a time. Enjoy Kusama's strange and beautiful takes on the inspirational quote:

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