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Yayoi Kusama

“KUSAMA: INFINITY” My rating: B 

76 minutes | No MPAA rating

At 89 Yayoi Kunama is the world’s the most successful living artist.

So we are told in “Kusama: Infinity,” Heather Lenz’s fact-filled, provocative and intriguing documentary.

Not bad for a woman who fought most of her life to gain equal footing with her male counterparts and who remains largely unknown to most Americans.

Born to a philandering father and a domineering mother who operated a huge garden seed company in their native Japan, Kusama showed an independent streak early on, defying her parents by studying art, corresponding with the legendary Georgia O’Keefe (then about the only living woman artist with a worldwide reputation) and, shortly after WWII, emigrating to New York City where she quite literally banged on gallery doors seeking recognition.

She took to wearing kimonos in public to draw attention…and in fact throughout her career has been seen as something of a publicity whore. Blowback from her unstoppable promoting led to her being more or less banned from most commercial galleries for a decade or more.

Old photos show her as an attractive woman — though not beautiful –with a terrific sense of style.

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