Jessica Diamond

American Fine Arts

At first glance, Jessica Diamond’s installation seemed unusually straightforward, especially for an artist whose work has often been seen as being intentionally indecipherable. In a series of works on paper, Diamond has referenced the work of the Japanese conceptual and performance artist Yayoi Kusama, presenting images and text lifted from Kusama alongside her own large wall drawings. Though this inscription of a female and Asian artist can be seen as a commentary on the male-dominated history of conceptual art, the more one learns of Kusama’s life and work, the more Diamond’s invocation of this artist resists a simple reading. Diagnosed as manic depressive, Kusama spent most of her life under psychiatric care; her autobiographical novel Habitual Manhattan Suicide Attempter, 1984, points to her grand artistic project—self-obliteration. Kusama’s “obsessional art” relies on polka dots—tropes

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