Yayoi Kusama Is Bringing Her Massive Pumpkins and Mirrored Infinity Rooms to the Bronx for an Expansive Show Next Spring

The beloved Japanese artist will create new works for the massive exhibition.

Yayoi Kusama's FLOWERS THAT SPEAK ALL ABOUT MY HEART GIVEN TO THE SKY and PUMPKIN (both 2018). Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai and Victoria Miro, London/Venice. © Yayoi Kusama.
Yayoi Kusama's FLOWERS THAT SPEAK ALL ABOUT MY HEART GIVEN TO THE SKY and PUMPKIN (both 2018). Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai and Victoria Miro, London/Venice. © Yayoi Kusama.

Your next art-selfie destination just might be the Bronx, where Yayoi Kusama will take over the New York Botanical Garden with a massive exhibition opening in spring 2020. The garden will be the only stop for the show, which is being billed as “the first-ever large-scale exploration of the artist’s profound engagement with nature.”

That means that you can expect plenty of Kusama’s famous yellow polka-dotted pumpkins and larger-than-life flowers, as well as early sketchbooks that reflect her fascination with the natural world. But the show will also present her signature mirrored environments, known as “Infinity Mirror Rooms,” that have made the Japanese artist an Instagram sensation.

“In a lifetime of finding inspiration in nature and pushing against boundaries and biases, [Kusama] developed a unique lexicon for artistic expression,” said New York Botanical Garden president Carrie Rebora Barratt in a statement. “While these works appear as mostly abstract forms to viewers, they are manifestations of how she sees the universe, specifically the natural world.”

Based on Kusama’s proven power to draw a crowd, it seems safe to say that this will likely be a well-attended exhibition. Her shows routinely sell out, with visitors waiting in long lines for the chance to see—and take pictures with—her colorful work.

Yayoi Kusama with Pumpkin (2010). Photo courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore / Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York, ©Yayoi Kusama.

Yayoi Kusama with Pumpkin (2010). Photo courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore / Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York, ©Yayoi Kusama.

Despite Kusama’s advanced age (she turned 90 in March), she’s planning to make some major new works specifically for the occasion. The press release for the exhibition tells viewers to expect her “first-ever participatory greenhouse installation,” during the course of the show.

This isn’t the first time that Kusama will be showing work at a botanical garden. During the last stop on her blockbuster 2017–19 North American tour, which wrapped up at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in February, her well-known piece Narcissus Garden was on view at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

"Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Garden" at the Glass House. © Yayoi Kusama.

Yayoi Kusama, Narcissus Garden in “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Garden” at the Glass House. © Yayoi Kusama.

The 1,400 reflective spheres that make up the work (which made its debut at the 1966 Venice Biennale) were shown recently in the New York area at the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, in 2016, and last summer in Rockaway’s former military base, Fort Tilden.

The expansive exhibition coming to the Bronx will take over the 250-acre grounds of the botanical garden, with the installation of monumental, site-specific outdoor works. Indoors, a horticultural display inspired by a massive Kusama painting will appear in the institution’s conservatory, with additional works (including botanical sketches, biomorphic collages, soft sculptures, assemblages, and immersive experiences) at its library building.

The Yayoi Kusama exhibition will be on view at the New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, the Bronx, New York, May 2–November 1, 2020.


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