Yayoi Kusama

Much-instagrammed blockbuster artist

In September The Observer asked whether Kusama is the ‘the world’s favourite artist’. She is certainly loved enough that rogue curators in China counterfeit shows: at least six popped up this year, according to the artist’s lawyers. It is easy to see why frauds might view her as a route to an easy buck: the artist’s genuine shows are blockbuster affairs – five museum exhibitions in 2018, including a homecoming gig at the Matsumoto City Museum – with even commercial galleries ticketing entry (an exhibition at Victoria Miro London booked out within the first few days). And Kusama is obviously a market favourite, being one of the world’s most expensive living female artists (though an Untitled ‘egg carton relief’ from 1962, with an estimate of $7–10 million, failed to sell at Sotheby’s in May). If you couldn’t afford a work, and missed out on tickets, then there was always this year’s feature-length documentary to see at the cinema.