ARTnews is sounding the “Infinity Watch” alarms for the fourth time this month: the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx has revealed details about its sprawling Yayoi Kusama exhibition, which will spread across the institution’s 250 acres next spring.
Slated to open May 9, the show, titled “Kusama: Cosmic Nature,” will focus on the artist’s longstanding exploration of nature, which goes back to her childhood in Japan, where her family owned a flower nursery. The exhibition will feature works from throughout Kusama’s seven-decade career from sketches of flowers she made at 16 to new pieces debuting in this survey.
On deck at the Botanical Garden are a potpourri of polka-dotted sculptures of flowers, paintings, and installations, including one of the artist’s famed “Infinity Mirror Rooms” and a greenhouse-themed “Obliteration Room,” where visitors are asked to cover the entire space with specially designed floral stickers.
The newest piece in the exhibition is a monumental bronze sculpture, titled Dancing Pumpkin (2020), that will allow viewers to approach the work from multiple angles, including having them walk under and around it. In an interview with ARTnews, Karen Daubmann, the NYBG’s associate vice president for exhibitions and public engagement, described the over 16-foot-tall work, which will be installed outdoors, as “a cross between a spider and a pumpkin.”
Kusama once described “the sense of being obliterated by flowers” as a child in a field near her home in Matsumoto, in Japan’s Nagano prefecture—an indelible event that likely influenced numerous aspects of her art-making, from her frenzied depictions of flora to her obliterating, immersive environments themselves.
“The more we researched her, the more we got excited about these stories we could tell here at the garden,” Daubmann said. “We’re writing a story about Kusama that most people don’t know.”
This will be just the third chance that New Yorkers will be able to see work by Kusama in the Big Apple in the span of a year. A solo exhibition of new work, expected to bring 100,000 visitors, opens next month at David Zwirner in Chelsea and a balloon designed by the artist will soar above Manhattan as part of this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “Cosmic Nature” will remain on view at the New York Botanical Garden through November 1, 2020, allowing visitors to experience Kusama’s works through multiple seasons. Tickets for the exhibition go on sale January 29.