Cosmic Nature

The playful works of Yayoi Kusama transform the New York Botanical Garden into an outdoor museum

NY Botanical Garden, Dancing Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama
NY Botanical Garden, Dancing Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama

Monumental polka dot sculptures inspired by nature can be seen at the New York Botanical Garden: with historic creations, site-specific installations and interactive pieces, the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama narrates her vision in the exhibition “Kusama: Cosmic Nature” curated by Mika Yoshitake. On view until 31 October 2021.

Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama

Gigantic squashes, flowers, stems and suns enliven one of the most surprising locations in New York: at the Botanical Garden in the Bronx, the exhibition “Kusama: Cosmic Nature” is a jubilee of colors and organic forms, doused with the famous polka dots of the artist in her nineties.
Works that reinvent the natural elements through off-scale totemic sculptures, monumental and extraordinary inventions that stand out amidst the water lilies, meadows, greenhouses and halls of the Conservatory, accompanied by a notebook of sketches by the artist shown in the library.

NY Botanical Garden, My Soul Blooms Forever by Yayoi Kusama
NY Botanical Garden, My Soul Blooms Forever by Yayoi Kusama

An ode to nature, which has fascinated Kusama since childhood: she was raised in the family nursery in Japan, where her love of plants became the leitmotif of her art. “For Kusama – says the curator Mika Yoshitake cosmic nature is a life force that integrates the terrestrial and celestial orders of the universe from both the micro- and macrocosmic perspectives. Her explorations evoke meanings that are both personal and universal. Nature is not only a central source of inspiration, but also integral to the visceral effects of Kusama’s artistic language.”

Hymn of life by Yayoi Kusama
Hymn of life by Yayoi Kusama
I Want to Fly to the Universe by Yayoi Kusama
I Want to Fly to the Universe by Yayoi Kusama

These inspirations are translated into exceptional masterworks on view at the Botanical Garden, along with site-specific installations like Dancing Pumpkin (2020), a monumental sculptures set up on the lawn of the Conservatory; I Want to Fly to the Universe (2020), four meters high, inside the Visitor Center; the interactive experience Flower Obsession (2017/2021), where visitors can dress up an entire room with flowers; and Infinity Mirrored Room-Illusion Inside the Heart (2020), reflecting nature to create a kaleidoscope of images.

NY Botanical Garden, Narcissus Garden by Yayoi Kusama
NY Botanical Garden, Narcissus Garden by Yayoi Kusama

Kusama: Cosmic Nature
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx
Curator: Mika Yoshitake
Until 31 October 2021
www.nybg.org