Yayoi moved from Japan to New York at the age of 27 years where she made a name for herself in avant-garde art; her work incorporates elements of Pop, Fluxus, Minimalism, and Surrealism, but remains unique in its fanatical, often sexually suggestive ways. This present work belongs to the body of works that she started in 1962, which she labeled ‘aggregation sculptures’, or ‘compulsion furniture’; Yayoi’s fascination with the theme of self-obliteration is explored in this work of art as well, just as in the rest of her other pieces. These works are best known for incorporating objects related with the work of women such as the metal oven pan alongside the stuffed, phallic limbs as in the present case; often than not, Kusama was fond of presenting her works in installations fitting rooms.
Joseph Richards of The What Where When holds says this of the artist—“…Kusama’s meditative obsessiveness is a mind-bending effect that can never really be pulled off inside a gallery space…infinity can’t sit inside a frame, and when the gallery space becomes the piece, that’s when the magic happens” (Art radar, 2012). Tabish Khan, Londonist says, “…it’s only when you are surrounded by her repeating patterns that you realize what it’s like to be immersed in her hallucinatory and fantastical world, where there is a constant struggle between light and dark…” (Art radar, 2012).
The 60’s, a time when the painting of the Oven-Pan was made, was characterized by new, radical and subversive events as well as trends that shook the rest of the globe in great extents; in the US, the 60’s were typically characterized with anger and violence following the assassination of J.F. Kennedy. There were many protests and civil unrest in the country due to the various socio-economic as well as political upheavals; many Americans protested against the unfair treatment of blacks as well as because