Yayoi Kusama’s Giant Polka Dot Sculptures Take Over the New York Botanical Garden

Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens

“Dancing Pumpkin,” 2020, The New York Botanical Garden, Urethane paint on bronze, 196 7/8 x 116 7/8 x 117 1/4 in., Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts and David Zwirner. Photo by Robert Benson Photography.

Since her early childhood, contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama has found creative inspiration in nature. From polka dot pumpkins to flower “obliterations,” she captures plantlife in her own distinctive style. Now, audiences will be able to see Kusama's colorful art installed outdoors in a new exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden. Entitled KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, this show features a comprehensive collection of the artist's nature-themed artwork—many of which were created specifically for the event—spread across the site's 250-acre landscape.

“We are delighted to mount this very special exhibition this year, having postponed it in 2020 due to the pandemic,” explains Karen Daubmann, vice president for Exhibitions and Audience Engagement at the NYBG. “Yayoi Kusama kindly shared a message with us. On March 6, 2021, she wrote, in part, ‘Dancing through our universe are noble souls whose magnificent forms are saturated with mystery. I invite you to explore the endlessly expanding ode to the beauty of love that is my art.’ We look forward to sharing her singular vision at the nexus of art, nature, and the cosmos at the Garden—a site uniquely suited for this once-in-a-lifetime presentation.”

Among the new pieces debuting at the show is the yellow-and-black sculpture, Dancing Pumpkin; a 13-foot-high biomorphic form called I Want to Fly to the Universe; and Kusama's first flower obliteration greenhouse. Additionally, the exhibition will include an assemblage of the artist's paintings and drawings spanning her long and vibrant career. All of these pieces display Kusama's deep connection to the environment. “Nature is not only a central source of inspiration but also integral to the visceral effects of Kusama’s artistic language in which organic growth and the proliferation of life are made ever-present,” says guest curator Mika Yoshitake, Ph.D.

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature will be on view until October 31, 2021. You can purchase tickets via the New York Botanical Garden's website.

The New York Botanical Garden is hosting a new exhibition by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama entitled KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature.

Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens

“I Want to Fly to the Universe,” 2020, The New York Botanical Garden, Urethane paint on aluminum, 157 3/8 x 169 3/8 x 140 1/8 in., Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts and David Zwirner. Photo by Robert Benson Photography.

It features monumental sculptures and installations inspired by nature that are spread across the 250-acre environment.

Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens

“Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees,” 2002/2021, The New York Botanical Garden, Printed polyester fabric, bungees, and luminous staples installed on existing trees, Site-specific installation dimensions variable, Collection of the artist. Photo by Robert Benson Photography.

The exhibition will be on view until October 31, 2021.

Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens

z'Narcissus Garden,z' 1966/2021, The New York Botanical Garden. 1,400 stainless steel spheres. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/SingaporreShanghai; David Zwirner, New York; Victoria Miro, London/Venice. Photo by Robert Benson Photography.

Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens

“My Soul Blooms Forever,” 2019, The New York Botanical Garden, Urethane paint on stainless steel, Installation dimensions variable, Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro and David Zwirner. Photo by Robert Benson Photography.

Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens

“Life,” 2015, The New York Botanical Garden, Fiberglass-reinforced plastic, tiles, and resin, Installation dimensions variable, Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts and David Zwirner. Photo by Robert Benson Photography.

Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens

“KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature,” The New York Botanical Garden, 2021. Photo by Robert Benson Photography.

Photo of Yayoi Kusama and Flowers

“Kusama in Flower Obsession,” Photo by Yuzuke Miyazake © Yayoi Kusama 2021.

Yayoi Kusama: Website | Facebook 
New York Botanical Garden: Website | Facebook | Instagram

All images via the New York Botanical Garden.

Related Articles:

Yayoi Kusama Has Two Immersive ‘Mirror Room’ Installations Coming To the Tate Modern

Yayoi Kusama Installation Fills Abandoned Building With 1,500 Mirrored Spheres

Yayoi Kusama Announces She’s Opening Her Own Museum in Tokyo

Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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