Open-air and indoor exhibition of works by the internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, KUSAMA: Cosmic nature, will open on April 10 at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx – the exclusive venue of the exhibition – and will be on display until October 31.
The exhibition was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and includes four experiences that debuted in the garden and is set across the garden landscape, in and around the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library building.
The exhibition, related programs and accompanying publication reveal Kusama’s lifelong fascination with the natural world and its countless manifestations beginning in her childhood, spent in greenhouses and fields of the family seed nursery in Matsumoto, Japan. By integrating seasonal horticultural exhibitions, KUSAMA: Cosmic nature it further illuminates the power of nature that permeates the artist’s practice and work.
Among the works created for the exhibition is Flower Obsession (2017/2021), the first Kusama greenhouse for obliteration. Visitors can apply coral-colored floral stickers to the transparent walls of the greenhouse and interior objects, thus transforming it, repeating the patterns and shapes of flowers that represent the concepts of destruction, infinity and eternity.
Another new work, Dancing Pumpkin (2020), on the lawn of the conservatory, is a 16-foot-tall bronze sculpture painted in black and yellow. It is set in a stunning landscape of river birches, flowering plants, grasses and ferns, an environment inspired by the sculpture itself and birch forests near Kusama’s childhood home.
They are also new I want to fly into space (2020), 13 feet tall, bright, purple-tentacled floral shape with a vivid yellow primordial face in the reflective pool of the visitor center and An endless mirror room – an illusion inside the heart (2020), an outdoor installation that reflects its surroundings, is currently only available from the outside, with an indoor approach envisioned for the summer.
Narcissus garden (1966/2021), containing 1,400 stainless steel balls, each nearly 12 inches in diameter, was installed in a 230-foot-long innate water garden facility. The spheres float on the surface of the water, move by wind and currents, and each reflects the surrounding environment.
In Ascension in dots on the trees (2002/2021), trees decorated with vivid red paint in white dots shoots in the garden landscape.
In the winter garden, My soul blossoms forever (2019) – colossal polka dot flowers made of stainless steel and painted in dramatic colors – greet visitors under the dome of the World Palm Tree Gallery.
In the seasonal exhibition galleries of the conservatory, a pink-gold mosaic Star Pumpkin (2015) is presented in a forest garden of leaves and flowers that harmonizes with the pink polka dots of the sculpture. In the courtyard of the Hardy Pool in the courtyard of the conservatory, the sculpture is abundantly painted and patterned Anthem of life – tulips (2007), which shows oversized fiberglass flowers, is located among water lilies and other seasonal aquatic plantations. The courtyard also features plantings – including a series of tulips in the spring and colorful annuals – that complement the sculpture.
Pumpkins scream about love behind infinity (2017), set in the Visitor Center gallery, features a glass cube that reflects the infinity of glowing pumpkins in dots. Seen from the outside, the installation changes over time as the pumpkins light up and then fade into darkness in meditative choreography.
Kusama said of the pumpkins, “My pumpkins, loved by all the plants in the world. When I see pumpkins, I can’t take away the joy of having them all, nor the awe in which I keep them. ”
Exhibited in the library building, Kusama’s 1945 sketch reveals a sharp eye of the 16-year-old artist for details on some 50 drawings capturing the cycle of flowering trees. Here are also examples of her botanical drawings, works on paper, biomorphic collages, mounting boxes, sculptures and paintings on canvas depicting flora and its unlimited variety of patterns.
Kusama’s significant work of performance is presented at the Arthur and Janet Ross Gallery with a projection Walking Piece (circa 1966/2021), a performance in which Kusama walked the streets of New York wearing a bright pink floral kimono and wearing an umbrella decorated with artificial flowers.
Spectacular seasonal displays will complement Kusama’s artwork. Tulips and irises in the spring will give way to dahlias and sunflowers in the summer, and masses of pumpkins and exhibitions of meticulously dressed kiku (Japanese for chrysanthemum) in the fall.
According to KUSAMA: Cosmic nature guest curator Mika Yoshitake, “For Kusama, cosmic nature is a life force that integrates the earthly and celestial orders of the universe from both the micro- and macrocosmic perspectives he explores in his practice. Her research evokes meanings that are both personal and universal. Nature is not only a central source of inspiration, but also an integral part of the visceral effects of Kusama’s artistic language in which organic growth and expansion of life are always present. ”
KUSAMA: Cosmic nature will be accompanied by public programs for all ages, including pop performances by musicians, jugglers and puppeteers, and the self-directed “Kids Get Cosmic!” activities at the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. The signature exhibit is available for purchase at the NYBG Shop, including a fully illustrated exhibition catalog this summer.
KUSAMA: Cosmic nature it has a new, limited time-limited ticket system to stumble visitor arrivals and promote social distancing. An advance purchase of time-limited tickets is required, which will be confirmed by e-mail with the possibility of printing or downloading a mobile ticket.
Ticket options include one with access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic nature outdoor and indoor installations; one for non-New Yorkers and that includes access for all KUSAMA: Cosmic nature outdoor installations; and one for New Yorkers who include access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic nature outdoor installations.