Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama: do we actually need so many dots in this world?


Text: Marina Alvitr

Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama: do we actually need so many dots in this world?

Not so long ago, we wrote about collaborations between artists and fashion brands, using Takashi Murakami as an example. Seen in the art world as Andy Warhol’s concept at its best, his “Artist x Corporation” strategy is understandable and justified.

Just like a company wants to put its logo everywhere, Takashi Murakami would like to spread his characters to all kinds of objects. And here’s another high-profile collaboration between art and fashion: Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton have released a collection of 450 pieces (!!!). They even have a robotic replica of the artist painting dots in a New York store window. Is this what art actually needs? Or does fashion need that? Or maybe it’s the 93-year-old artist herself who needs it?

Only one out of about 20 articles, that appeared in the top fashion, art, and life magazines, has asked: is this collaboration really in the zeitgeist? Though, I must say this question is posed in a very neat way. Do we still need such mass and hodgepodge collaborations? As it was a decade ago, with the same LV x Kusama. So contrary to popular opinion, I would like to express my doubts about the art world moving in the right direction. If anything, I do love fashion and support collaborations. It’s nothing personal.

The first thing that is infinitely gratifying is the designation of Yayoi Kusama as an avant-garde artist. Yes, of course, she was an avant-garde artist in the 1960s when she first moved from Japan to New York and created experimental performances along with other artists. She impressed everyone with her scandalous “Narcissus Garden” installation at the Venice Biennale: Kusama sold the shiny mirror spheres to viewers for $2 each. Clearly, the sale was purely symbolic, and the process itself was more akin to what is now called “interactive art”. But back then, that seemed to be rather an extraordinary and revolutionary idea even for the Biennial’s curators. They asked her to stop. Today, just like Louis Vuitton in fashion, Kusama is a powerful brand in the art world. She is no longer avant-garde but a kind of classic. Their mutual collaboration is pretty logical but has nothing to do with experimental, …