SFMOMA is committed to open and meaningful dialogue with our community. Grounded in our DEI Statement of Intention, we are driven by the transformative power of art and a vision to present our visitors with exciting, evocative, and inspiring art experiences. We also understand the history of art is complicated and that even artists who are visionary in their work may have histories of concerning behavior or biases. It is our responsibility to be both forthright when we are faced with these realities and to grapple with how to present and discuss artists holistically and truthfully.
In this spirit, SFMOMA acknowledges that some of Yayoi Kusama’s past writings include harmful language describing Black people, which SFMOMA firmly stands against. The museum also acknowledges the artist’s recent public apology. Her complete statement follows below.
“I deeply regret using hurtful and offensive language in my book. My message has always been one of love, hope, compassion, and respect for all people. My lifelong intention has been to lift up humanity through my art. I apologize for the pain I have caused.”
SFMOMA will host a public program this spring to explore how we might begin to contextualize makers in all of their complexity. This program is part of an ongoing and evolving effort to embrace this topic as central to museum practice. Please continue to check sfmoma.org for more information.