While popularity in an industry can be hard to quantifiably chart without just resorting to straight dollar values, the appeal of someone’s output across continental boundaries as well as the attention people pay to non-purchasable works certainly contributes to being able to evaluate the individual’s success. Well, that’s the methodology used to annually determine the most popular living artists and this year, that honour goes to the polka dot aficionado Yayoi Kusama.
The Japanese artist earned the title thanks to the unparalleled success of her Infinite Obsessions exhibition which finished up touring through South and Central America last year, pulling an average of 9,000 patrons – drawing over 2 million total patrons to the travelling exhibit. The show stayed open in some venues for up to 36 hours just to accommodate the demand of fans. Kusama’s exhibition has been so popular that its monumental closing weekend in January is already guaranteed to be featured in next year’s survey.
So I guess there’s power in the polka dot. It’s worth noting she’s also the most expensive living artist too so not only is she being celebrated across at least five continents, people are paying top dollar for the privilege.