New York Botanical Garden releases details of Yayoi Kusama’s upcoming exhibition

Posted On Fri, January 17, 2020 By

Posted On Fri, January 17, 2020 By In Art, Bronx, Events

Yayoi Kusama in 2020. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Opening May 9th and running until November at the New York Botanical Garden, a blockbuster exhibition dedicated to Yayoi Kusama will immerse us in the Japanese artist’s visionary world. As the exhibition begins to take shape, we got our first sneak peek of the ambitious plans, which include a career-spanning survey, the debut of four new works, and a variety of complementary horticultural installations created by the Garden’s team.

Yayoi Kusama with her family (circa 1929); Courtesy of the artist.

Yayoi Kusama, I WANT TO GO TO THE UNIVERSE (2013). Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner.

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room—Illusion Inside the Heart (2020). Photo courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner.

Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity (2017). Photo courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner.

According to a recent press release, the exhibition will explore “Kusama’s lifelong fascination with the natural world beginning in her childhood spent in the greenhouses and fields of her family’s Nakatsutaya seed nursery.” Multiple installations throughout the garden grounds will include early sketchbooks and paintings of plants and flowers (many of which will be exhibited for the first time) alongside the artist’s ever-popular mirror installations and site-specific polka-dotted sculptures. Among the debut works are Flower Obsession (2020), a greenhouse installation that will require visitor participation to cover the space in flower stickers, and a new indoor-outdoor Infinity Room that will “respond to changing light throughout the day and seasons.”

Yayoi Kusama, ALONE, BURIED IN A FLOWER GARDEN (2014); Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner.

The artworks will inspire a series of changing indoor and outdoor displays created by the Garden’s horticulturalists throughout the run of the show, from “glorious displays of tulips and irises in spring” to “masses of pumpkins and autumnal flowers in fall.” The team will also recreate the painting ALONE, BURIED IN A FLOWER GARDEN (2014) from plants in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

Yayoi Kusama around age 10; Courtesy of the artist

The botanical garden is a fitting venue to explore Kusama’s art in direct dialogue with her sources of inspiration. “For Kusama, cosmic nature is a life force that integrates the terrestrial and celestial orders of the universe from both the micro- and macrocosmic perspectives she examines in her practice,” guest curator Mika Yoshitake explains. “Nature is not a mere source of inspiration, but integral to the visceral effects of Kusama’s artistic language in which organic growth and the proliferation of life are made ever-present.”

Yayoi Kusama, Flower Obsession (Sunflower), 2000; Courtesy of the artist.

A yet-to-be-announced schedule of public programs will cater to all ages and include lectures and film screenings of Kusama Infinity (2018) and Kusama’s Self-Obliteration (1967).

If Kusama’s previous New York City exhibitions are any indication, the show is going to be massively popular. Timed entry tickets for Kusama: Cosmic Nature go on sale for NYBG members on February 19 and to the public on February 26th. 100,000 free tickets will be set aside for low-income Bronx residents. The show will be on display through November 1st but tickets will move fast so plan ahead for this one.

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