Photograph courtesy of MoMA.

MoMA and Yayoi Kusama Team up on Extremely Limited-Edition Skate Decks

Kusama altered the designs by hand-painting the mockups!

by Tyler Watamanuk
Aug 31 2018, 5:31pm

Photograph courtesy of MoMA.

New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama have teamed up on a collection of skateboard decks so rare it might make art collectors feel like hypebeasts. The dot-adorned skateboards (there’s triptych of styles) come in a limited run of 500 and will only be available through MoMA’s online store when they drop in September.

“Skate culture carries with it a connotation of rebellion and subversion,” says Chay Costello, Associate Merchandising Director for MoMA Design Store of the decision to go with a skate deck as the medium of choice for this collection. “The idea of taking works by artists who challenge boundaries and the way we view the world, and presenting their work in a surprising new way inspires people to view the artwork through fresh eyes.”

Kusama released an exclusive deck as part of her Infinity Mirrors exhibition at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles last year, and MoMA currently offers decks featuring the works of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, but the Kusama collaboration has an individual touch: when MoMA sent her Tokyo studio the sample decks for approval, the artist actually hand-painted her famous dot motif right on the decks, and the mockups were then reworked with these new touches.

“Initially we were surprised that Kusama had painted over our samples,” explains Costello. “Though once we considered her process and rich attention to detail, we realized it made perfect sense. The reworked boards we received from her studio were striking—rich brushstrokes that presented clear and perfectly planned gestures. The project immediately became much richer: the reproduction of an original work custom-created for the medium. To be able to help bring this to life has been incredibly special.”

There are four dot-adorned styles to choose from: big and small black dots on bright yellow deck and big and small red dots on a pristine white deck. (They’ll sell for $200 a pop.) If you’re looking to hang more than one deck on your wall, there are two triptych sets as well: one featuring the geometric and trippy details from her 2000 work Infinity Nets ($800) and the other with the mesmerizing tangled branches work from 1994’s Yellow Trees ($500). The original hand-painted boards will be showcased at MoMA Design Store Midtown and SoHo.

The collection of skate decks come on the heels of Kusama - Infinity, a new documentary that tracks Kusama's journey from her conservative upbringing in Japan to how she became the top-selling female artist in the world today. And the best part? All the decks come with a wall mount included—so you won’t feel too bad for not knowing how to skate.

Yayoi Kusama