Polka Dots

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“Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos,” Yayoi Kusama once wrote. “Polka dots are a way to infinity.” Kusama has earned her title as the “Princess of Polka Dots,” covering canvases, sculptures, mirrored rooms, and even pumpkins with colorful spots since the 1950s. For the artist, being surrounded by polka dots is a type of “self-obliteration”—a way for her to shed her ego and escape into the infinite abyss. In the ’60s, Kusama often covered her body with polka dots in naked demonstrations that protested the Vietnam War. Covered in the abstract pattern, she urged the public: “Obliterate your personality with polka dots. Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment. Take off your clothes. Make love. Forget yourself. Self-destruction is the only way to peace.”

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