M+ announces its first Special Exhibition, ‘Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now’ on 12th November


15th September 2022 – (Hong Kong) M+, Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, is pleased to announce the museum’s first Special Exhibition: Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now, to be opened on M+’s first anniversary, 12th November 2022 (Saturday) through 14th May 2023 (Sunday), with HSBC as Lead Sponsor. M+ also announces the ticketing arrangements for General Admission and Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now,both of which take effect on 12th November 2022 (Saturday), and unveils its programme of exhibitions for the second year of opening.

M+ celebrates its first anniversary with a Special Exhibition by visionary artist Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now is the largest retrospective of renowned artist Yayoi Kusama in Asia outside Japan, featuring more than 200 works from major collections from museums and private collections in Asia, Europe, and the United States, the M+ Collection, as well as from the artist’s own collection. Co-curated by Doryun Chong, Deputy Director, Curatorial and Chief Curator, M+, and Mika Yoshitake, independent curator, the exhibition introduces a new interpretative approach to Kusama’s over seven-decade career and invites viewers to discover the transformative power of art. The retrospective highlights the core aesthetic elements of Kusama’s work and foregrounds her recurring philosophical questions about life and death and her longing for interconnectedness. The exhibition explores how Kusama has become a global cultural icon who creates vital and influential work to this day.

Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+, says, ‘M+ has achieved unprecedented success in its first year of opening on 12 November 2021. Notwithstanding the temporary closure of the museum from January to April this year due to the pandemic, it has already welcomed over 1.53 million visitors. This strong show of public support is a testament to the museum’s role in transforming and enriching the cultural ecology in Hong Kong and Asia and making contemporary visual culture more accessible to all. We are proud to present Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now to our audiences, as the internationally acclaimed artist’s cross-disciplinary and global art practice resonates with the essence of what M+ offers. We look forward to another splendid year ahead with a terrific line-up of exhibitions and programmes.’

Organised chronologically and thematically, and spanning from Kusama’s earliest work to her most recent output, Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now features a wide range of paintings, installations, sculptures, drawings, collages, moving images, and archival materials. The exhibition examines Kusama’s practice as it developed in Japan, the United States, Europe, and beyond through six themes: Infinity, Accumulation, Radical Connectivity, Biocosmic, Death, and Force of Life.

The exhibition presents three brand-new works to audiences for the first time. Death of Nerves(2022)​ is a large-scale installation commissioned by M+. Installed in the Lightwell that connects the museum’s ground floor and the basement levels and draping down to the Found Space on the B2 level, the work can be viewed from multiple vantages throughout the M+ building. Dots ObsessionAspiring to Heaven’s Love (2022), presented in The Studio on the B2 level, is an ambitious immersive environment that includes one of the artist’s signature mirrored spaces. Two large sculptures titled Pumpkin (2022) will be available for public viewing in the Main Hall on the ground floor.

To accompany the exhibition, Thames & Hudson will publish Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now in collaboration with M+. Edited by ​Doryun Chong and Mika Yoshitake, this comprehensive and richly illustrated 400-page publication features contributions by the editors as well as Isabella Tam, Associate Curator, Visual Art, M+, and Alex A. Jones, independent researcher and writer. The publication is a collection of curatorial essays, thematic texts, a visual chronology of Kusama’s life, a roundtable discussion with leading authorities in the field, and a selection of poetry, manifestoes, past interviews, and previously unpublished artist writings.​ Both English and Chinese editions are available for pre-order at the M+ Shop online starting from 15th September 2022. In addition, a series of public programmes will be available throughout the exhibition period. Visitors are invited to dive deeper into Kusama’s art practice with curators’ talks, screenings, and family-friendly activities with details to be announced later.

Biocosmic pumpkins by Kusama
Biocosmic sex obsession by Kusama.
Infinity Pacific Ocean by Kusama.

Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now is supported by HSBC, Lead Sponsor, together with HKT as Major Sponsor, Louis Vuitton and The Macallan as Supporting Sponsors and Cathay Pacific as Airline Partner of the exhibition.

Doryun Chong, Deputy Director, Curatorial and Chief Curator, M+, says, ‘Yayoi Kusama is one of the most influential and inspiring artists of our time. Her Asian roots, transnational history, as well as her singular artistic language and philosophy that she has developed from the 1940s to now, have all contributed to making her the leading cultural figure she is now globally. This is the first time in Greater China the full trajectory of Kusama’s art is presented in a comprehensive retrospective exhibition providing a holistic and unique perspective on the accomplishments of this visionary artist. 

Mika Yoshitake, independent curator, says, ‘M+’s exhibition sheds new light on Yayoi Kusama’s art philosophy and life. Kusama has transformed her personal experiences—the challenges she has faced in her career, as well as her lifelong battle with mental health—into a creative force through the regenerative power of healing amidst our global pandemic era. We are delighted to introduce audiences to this artist’s profound vision through new thematic trajectories as well anewly commissioned work.’ 

M+ announces ticket arrangements after first anniversary

Admission fees to M+ exhibitions are waived for the first year since its opening on 12th November 2021. All visitors can enjoy free admission to M+ exhibitions until 11th November 2022 (Friday). Thanks to the overwhelming support of the local community, as of 14th September 2022 (Wednesday), more than 1.53 million visitors have visited M+ for free. Starting from its first anniversary on 12th November 2022, visitors are required to purchase tickets in advance to access all M+ exhibitions, except for Hong Kong: Here and Beyond, one of the museum’s opening exhibitions presented in the Main Hall Gallery on the ground floor, which will maintain free access for the public during its exhibition period until June 2023.

General Admission tickets are priced at HK$120 for adults and HK$60 for visitors eligible for concessionary fare, which entitle them to visit all M+ exhibitions except Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now on B2 level and in West Gallery on the second floor; whereas Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Nowtickets, which allow visitors access to all galleries, are priced at HK$240 for adults and HK$150 forconcession. Admission to Pumpkin (2022) and Hong Kong: Here and Beyond on the ground floor and the B1 level of the museum respectively will be free of charge.

Tickets for both General Admission and Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now for the period from 12th November 2022 (Saturday) to 31st January 2023 (Tuesday) will be available for online purchase starting from 10am on 13th October 2022 (Thursday). M+ Members and Patrons can enjoy priority booking for tickets to Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now during the Priority Booking period from 29th September 2022 (Thursday) to 12th October 2022 (Wednesday). Further details will be announced in the first half of October 2022.

Visitors are encouraged to seize the last chance to book their free visit to M+ until 11th November 2022 (Friday) via the designated online booking platform.

M+ unveils its second year’s programme highlights

In addition to Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now, M+ also announces an exciting programme of exhibitions for its second year of opening (November 2022 to November 2023):

New General Admission Attractions

·       Beeple: HUMAN ONE at Focus Gallery from December 2022 onwards

HUMAN ONE is a groundbreaking hybrid digital and physical artwork by the pioneering American artist Mike Winkelmann (aka Beeple). It is the artist’s first hybrid work marrying a digital artwork with a sculpture. The M+ presentation will be the first exhibition of this work in Asia.

·       The return exhibition of Angela Su: Arise, Hong Kong in Venice at Courtyard Galleries from June 2023 to January 2024

Hong Kong artist Angela Su’s acclaimed exhibition representing Hong Kong at the Venice Biennale 2022 will return to Hong Kong and will be showcased at M+ in the summer of 2023 with an adapted and site-responsive presentation. The exhibition will be co-organised by M+ and Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Special Exhibitions

·       Madame Song: Pioneering Art and Fashion in China at West Gallery from July 2023 to April 2024

Song Huai-Kuei (1937–2006), widely known during her lifetime as Madame Song, was a legend in China’s elite cultural circles in the 1980s and 1990s. Organised thematically and divided into five sections, Madame Song: Pioneering Art and Fashion in China traces Madame Song’s life and practice from the 1950s to the early 2000s and unveils her thus far overlooked and underestimated influence in transforming a largely closed China into today’s cosmopolitan and culturally diverse society.

·       The Sigg Prize 2023 exhibition at Main Hall Gallery from September 2023 to February 2024

M+ will present the Sigg Prize 2023 exhibition of six shortlisted artists for this prestigious recurring prize. This is the second time M+ is exhibiting the work of leading contemporary artists born or working in the Greater China region and selected by an international jury. The Sigg Prize winner will be announced in early 2024.