The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is preparing for its upcoming multisensory presentation of contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s profound connection with nature. KUSAMA: COSMIC NATURE premieres May 9 and runs through November 1.
As one of the most popular artists in the world, Kusama has attracted millions to experience her immersive installations that explore the interconnectedness of all living things.
With NYBG as the exclusive exhibition venue, Kusama reveals her lifelong fascination with the natural world, beginning with her childhood spent in the greenhouses and fields of her family’s seed nursery. Her artistic concepts of obliteration, infinity, and eternity are inspired by her intimate engagement with the colors and patterns of plants and flowers.
Multiple installations feature Kusama’s multifaceted art, including vibrant paintings of plants and flowers and monumental floral and vegetal sculptures, across NYBG’s 250-acre landmark landscape and buildings. In and around the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the artist’s two-dimensional work comes to life through a seasonal progression of violas, salvias, zinnias, chrysanthemums, and other colorful annuals, while her plant-inspired, polka-dotted sculptures are nestled among meadow grasses, bellflowers, water lilies, and more. This mesmerizing indoor-outdoor spectacle is designed to change with the seasons, transforming among tulips and irises in the spring and pumpkins and chrysanthemums in the fall. Kusama will also unveil Infinity Mirrored Room—Illusion Inside the Heart (2020), an immersive outdoor installation responding to changing light throughout the day and seasons.
Living in New York City from 1958 to 1973, Kusama participated in avant-garde circles while honing her signature dot and net painting motifs, developing soft sculptures, creating installation-based works, and staging spontaneous performance art. Following her return to Japan, her work became increasingly personal, while also engaging with universal themes of life and death and the interconnectedness of living things. Beginning in the late 1980s, international attention coalesced around Kusama’s work, resulting in her selection to represent Japan at the 1993 Venice Biennale, and numerous blockbuster exhibitions worldwide.