Patterns/Fine Art?

Last summer I saw an exhibit at the Whitney on Japanese American artist Yayoi Kusama. Many of her works involve ecstatic, colorful patterns such as the one in the photo below. Over the course of this project and the last I have been considering the relationship between patterns and fine arts. For the most part, while designing patterns it felt more like an exercise in practical design than in fine arts. In fact, turning the pattern into a “wearable” only highlighted the fact the practical nature of my design. However, seeing works like that of Kusama makes me reconsider that boundary.

In the work below Kusama did something very similar to what we did in class. She designed a pattern and then repeated that pattern over a wide array of common objects (such as her clothing, furniture, and walls). However, she is not looking to market these fabrics/designs for retail. Rather, for her this was an exercise of art or expression.

I’m not necessarily sure what this clarifies. In fact, I am left with a less clear distinction between the relationship of art and design. But I thought it was interesting nonetheless.



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