Kusama: Cosmic Nature

Antonio Cerveira PintoAyN

Dancing Pumpkin, 2020, The New York Botanical Garden, Urethane paint on bronze, 196 7/8 x 116 7/8 x 117 ¼ in. (500 x 296.9 x 297.8 cm), Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts and David Zwirner. Photo by Robert Benson Photography

Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama came to the United States in 1957 and quickly found herself at the epicenter of the New York avant-garde. After achieving fame through groundbreaking exhibitions and art “happenings,” she returned to her native country in 1973 and is now one of Japan’s most prominent contemporary artists.

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Kusama’s work in an exclusive exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden

Saturday, April 10 – Sunday, October 31, 2021

Experience Yayoi Kusama’s profound connection with nature
Contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is one of the most popular artists in the world, drawing millions to experience her immersive installations.

Exclusively at NYBG, 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, patterns, and life cycles of plants and flowers.

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‘Kusama: Cosmic Nature,’ a dialogue between art and the natural world

Christopher Booker:

There is a strange, yet seemingly natural symmetry in Yayoi Kusama’s takeover of the New York Botanical Garden. It may be wrapped around the trees, sitting in the fountains or nestled between tropical plants. But against the backdrop of the annual spring explosion of flowers and leaves the work seems nowhere near out of place. The shapes and colors of the Bronx garden provides a natural runway for the unmistakable works of one of the world’s most famous living artists. But at 92, Kusama seldom travels – so bringing her work to the world has, in recent years fallen on curator Mika Yoshitake.

Mika Yoshitake:

There’s a very visceral connection to nature that you’ll see in her forms. It almost feels Kinetic. The buds are about to bloom and there’s this threshold between the botanical and the cosmic world.

Christopher Booker:

Originally scheduled to open last spring, Kusama: Cosmic Nature spans over 70 years of her work from this 1945 sketch [please see the video] to 2020’s Dancing Pumpkin.

Christopher Booker:

So when you’re looking at this space. What are you thinking? What are you looking to understand or to figure out?

Mika Yoshitake:

Well, with Kusama’s work, the interaction with the sun, the glass, the sky and the reflective nature of some of her works is very key. The Botanical Gardens really did determine which kind of pieces we would select. So like the ascension of polka dots on trees. I think what we discover is how Kusama’s work really enhances, the botanical landscape. So there is a dialog between the two. Her work is not blending in with the natural environment. It’s really on its own. It holds its own.

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

«Kusama: Cosmic Nature», un diálogo entre el arte y el mundo natural

Christopher Booker:

Hay una simetría extraña, aunque aparentemente natural, en la toma de posesión del Jardín Botánico de Nueva York por parte de Yayoi Kusama. Puede estar envuelto alrededor de los árboles, sentado en las fuentes o entre plantas tropicales. Pero en el contexto de la explosión anual de primavera de flores y hojas, el trabajo no parece estar fuera de lugar. Las formas y colores del jardín del Bronx proporcionan una pasarela natural para las inconfundibles obras de uno de los artistas vivos más famosos del mundo. Pero a los 92 años, Kusama rara vez viaja, por lo que llevar su trabajo al mundo ha recaído en los últimos años en la curadora Mika Yoshitake.

Mika Yoshitake:

Hay una conexión muy visceral con la naturaleza que verás en sus formas. Casi se siente cinético. Los cogollos están a punto de florecer y existe este umbral entre el mundo botánico y el cósmico.

Christopher Booker:

Originalmente programado para abrir la primavera pasada, Kusama: Cosmic Nature abarca más de 70 años de su trabajo, desde este boceto de 1945 [video] hasta Dancing Pumpkin de 2020.

Christopher Booker:

Entonces, cuando miras este espacio. ¿Qué estás pensando? ¿Qué estás buscando entender o descubrir?

Mika Yoshitake:

Bueno, con la obra de Kusama, la interacción con el sol, el vidrio, el cielo y la naturaleza reflectante de algunas de sus obras es muy clave. El Jardín Botánico realmente determinó qué tipo de piezas seleccionaríamos. Así como la ascensión de lunares en los árboles. Creo que lo que descubrimos es cómo el trabajo de Kusama realmente mejora el paisaje botánico. Entonces hay un diálogo entre los dos. Su trabajo no se mezcla con el entorno natural. Realmente es por sí solo. Tiene lo suyo.

Publicación original @PBS