September 7, 2018
How One Filmmaker Documented the Hero Journey of the World's Most Successful Female Artist
Does the idea of filming someone’s life story for three years without their permission sound utterly terrifying? For filmmaker Heather Lenz, big risks came with big rewards.
Yayoi Kusama is now the most top-selling female artist in history. While you may know her from the explosion of Instagrammable infinity rooms and polka dots in recent years, her journey began decades ago, trying to storm the art world…unsuccessfully. Kusama just happened to be way ahead of her time.
Evidently, so was filmmaker Heather Lenz. As an art student in the 1990s, Lenz became interested in Kusama when she had a rare are show in New York City. Lenz decided she had to tell Kusama’s story. She started out, 17 years ago, writing a biopic. She eventually realized she should make a doc that would show Kusama herself. The only problem? Heather Lenz had yet to meet Kusama. “It was 2004 when we started shooting, and it was 2007 before we met her,” explained Lenz to No Film School. “This is what not to do!”