360 Magazine is live at the NYBG KUSAMA Cosmic Nature Media Preview featuring Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The KUSAMA Garden and Gallery Pass include access to all of the outdoor and indoor installations (1-9), Haupt Conservatory, Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, Tram Tour, and Garden grounds. The installations include:
- Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity
- Flower Obsession
- Mertz Library Building Gallery
- Paintings, collages, early sketches, other works
- Walking Piece
- Haupt Conservatory Galleries
- Horticultural displays, tropical and desert collections
- Hymn of Life – Tulips
- My Soul Blooms Forever
KUSAMA Garden Pass includes access to all outdoor installations (6-9), Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and Garden grounds:
- I Want to Fly to the Universe
- Narcissus Garden
- Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees
- Dancing Pumpkin
In addition, Infinity Mirrored Room – Illusion Inside the Heart: Exterior now on view to all ticket holders; interior access planned to begin this summer; separate timed-entry ticket required for interior access. More information is available on the NYBG website.
Garden Navigator – Explore the one million plants across NYBG’s 250 acres and find what you want to see. Visit the website for the navigation tool.
Forest Bathing: A meditative audio experience – Be fully present on this self-guided tour. Bathe your senses in the sights, smells, sounds, and sensations of the Thain Forest.
Audio Tours – Look for signs with instructions at stops throughout the Garden to learn about specific plants, gardens, and collections.
My Day At The Garden: Family Guide – Embark on an adventure with their kids and family activity guide, available at any ticket window or on the website.
Spring For Nature – 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Kids of all ages can take a closer look at the wonders of plants and animals across the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden.
Bloomberg Connect App – Featuring audio tours, detailed plant images, and more; there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Free download available here.
Tickets Go on Sale to the Public on March 16, 2021, for The New York Botanical Garden’s Exclusive Presentation of KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature Featuring New Work by Celebrated Artist Yayoi Kusama
The exhibition, related programs, and accompanying publication reveal Kusama’s lifelong fascination with the natural world and its countless manifestations beginning in her childhood spent in the greenhouses and fields of her family’s seed nursery in Matsumoto, Japan. The exhibition includes works from throughout Kusama’s prolific career and multifaceted practice. By integrating seasonal horticultural displays, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature further illuminates the power of nature that pervades the artist’s practice and dynamic body of work.
Multiple outdoor installations, including monumental sculptures of flora transform the Garden’s 250-acre landscape and the visitor experience. Her signature polka-dotted organic forms and mesmerizing paintings of plants and flowers are also represented. Recent vivid observations of nature, shown alongside earlier works that have never been publicly exhibited and those that are presented for the first time in the United States, trace Kusama’s connection to the natural world throughout her career.
Among the works created for and debuting in the exhibition are:
- Flower Obsession (2017/2021), Kusama’s first-ever obliteration greenhouse.
- Dancing Pumpkin (2020), a monumental sculpture presented on the Haupt Conservatory Lawn.
- I Want to Fly to the Universe (2020), a 13-foot-high biomorphic form presented in the Visitor Center; and,
- Infinity Mirrored Room Illusion Inside the Heart(2020), an outdoor installation reflecting its environs.
Spectacular seasonal displays complement the artworks on view, making each visit unique as new plantings, textures, and palettes are introduced. Glorious outdoor displays of tulips and irises in spring give way to dahlias and sunflowers in summer, and masses of pumpkins and autumnal flowers in fall. In and around the Conservatory, Kusama’s plant-inspired polka-dotted sculptures are nestled among meadow grasses, bellflowers, water lilies, and other plantings. Stunning floral presentations bring to life one of Kusama’s paintings on view in the Mertz Library Building through a seasonal progression of violas, salvias, zinnias, and other colorful annuals. In fall, displays of meticulously trained kiku (Japanese for chrysanthemum), one of that country’s most heralded fall-flowering plants) will create a dramatic finale for the Conservatory displays.
KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature guest curator Mika Yoshitake, Ph.D., said, Kusama, cosmic nature is a life force that integrates the terrestrial and celestial orders of the universe from both the micro- and macrocosmic perspectives she investigates in her practice. 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 in which organic growth and the proliferation of life are made ever-present.
In the Garden
On the Conservatory Lawn, visitors encounter the monumental Dancing Pumpkin, a 16-foot-high bronze sculpture painted in black and yellow. Both playful and powerful, it is sited in an immersive landscape of river birches, flowering plants, grasses, and ferns. The setting is inspired by the sculpture itself and the birch forests near Kusama’s childhood home.
Visitors can marvel at the bright, purple-tentacled floral form with a vivid yellow primordial face of I Want to Fly to the Universe in the Visitor Center Reflecting Pool, and then behold Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees (2002/2021), where soaring trees adorned in vibrant red with white polka dots pop in the landscape along Garden Way.
Narcissus Garden (1966/2021), 1,400 stainless steel spheres each nearly 12 inches in diameter, is installed in the 230-foot-long water feature of the Native Plant Garden. The reflective orbs float on the water’s surface, moved by wind and currents, each mirroring the environment around them to captivating effect.
With interior access planned to begin this summer, Kusama’s new Infinity Mirrored Room will operate per New York State and City guidelines for social distancing and visitor safety. The installation, Infinity Mirrored Room Illusion Inside the Heart (2020), responds to natural light through colored glass throughout the day and seasons. Reflecting the seasonality of NYBGߣs landscape, the exterior will be on view with the opening of the exhibition. A separate timed-entry ticket will be required for limited-capacity access.
In the Galleries
In Flower Obsession, visitors may apply coral-colored floral stickers to the furniture and household objects. Over the course of the exhibition, the accumulating stickers will transform the greenhouse. Through works like this, Kusama employs the repeating patterns and forms of flowers to represent the concepts of obliteration, infinity, and eternity.
Three galleries in the Conservatory feature a horticultural celebration of Kusama’s self-proclaimed biophilia. My Soul Blooms Forever (2019), colossal polka-dotted flowers made of stainless steel and painted in dramatic colors, greet visitors under the recently restored dome of the Palms of the World Gallery.
In the Seasonal Exhibition Galleries, the pink-and-gold mosaic Starry Pumpkin (2015) is featured in a woodland garden of foliage and flowers chosen to harmonize with the sculpture’s pink polka dots. Using Kusama’s vibrant painting Alone, Buried in a Flower Garden (2014) as inspiration, NYBG horticulturists have designed a living work of art to mimic the painting’s bold shapes and colors, with plantings changed seasonally. The patchwork of shapes in the painting reads as garden beds seen from above.
In the Conservatory Courtyard Hardy Pool, the exuberantly colored and patterned sculpture Hymn of Life Tulips (2007) depicting outsized, fiberglass flowers are positioned among water lilies and other seasonal aquatic plantings. The Courtyard also features plantings including an array of tulips in spring and colorful annuals in summer that complement the dynamic sculpture on display.
Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity (2017) comprises a glass cube reflecting an infinity of glowing polka-dotted pumpkins within it. The work, one of Kusama’s signature mirrored environments, is installed in the Visitor Center Gallery. Viewed from the outside, the installation changes over time as pumpkins illuminate and then fade to darkness in a meditative choreography. Kusama has said of pumpkins, My pumpkins, beloved of all the plants in the world. When I see pumpkins, I cannot efface the joy of them being my everything, nor the awe I hold them in.
On display in the Library Building, Kusama’s 1945 sketchbook reveals the 16-year-old artist’s keen eye for detail in some 50 drawings capturing the bloom cycle of tree peonies. This work is an early product of a lifelong connection with the natural world that has inspired her practice across mediums. It also portends avant-garde ideas she developed while living in New York City between 1958 and 1973, as a contemporary of Joseph Cornell, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, and Claes Oldenburg, and continues to explore rigorously today.
The Library Building presentation also features examples of her botanical drawings, works on paper, biomorphic collages, assemblage boxes, sculptures, and paintings on canvas depicting flora and its limitless variety of patterns.
Kusama’s considerable body of performance works is represented in the Ross Gallery by a projection of Walking Piece (ca. 1966/2021), a performance in which Kusama walked the streets of New York City wearing a bright-pink floral kimono and carrying an umbrella decorated with artificial flowers. Art historians have analyzed Walking Piece as a carefully calculated representation of the artist’s ethnicity and gender, one that was intended to demand attention.
From monumental polka-dotted pumpkin sculptures to abstract paintings that resemble cells magnified thousands of times, Kusama’s works suggest the patterns that can be observed all around us. The self-guided Patterns in Nature Tour, featured on the Bloomberg Connects mobile app, examines the visible and microscopic patterns found in nature. Visitors will discover what the patterns of leaf placement, flower petals, and magnified laboratory specimens reveal about what makes species unique as well as how all living things are connected at the genomic level.
Karen Daubmann, Vice President for Exhibitions and Audience Engagement at the Garden, said, “We are delighted to mount this very special exhibition this year, having postponed it in 2020 due to the pandemic. Yayoi Kusama kindly shared a message with us. On March 6, 2021, she wrote, in part, Dancing through our universe are noble souls whose magnificent forms are saturated with mystery. I invite you to explore the endlessly expanding ode to the beauty of love that is my art. We look forward to sharing her singular vision at the nexus of art, nature, and the cosmos at the Garden site uniquely suited for this once-in-a-lifetime presentation.
Programs and Publication
KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature is accompanied by a roster of public programs for all ages, including pop-up performances by musicians, jugglers, and puppeteers; self-guided Kids Get Cosmic; activities in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden; and more. Signature exhibition merchandise is available for purchase at NYBG Shop.
Coming in summer 2021, a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, co-published with Rizzoli Electa, will include essays by KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature guest curator Mika Yoshitake, art historian Jenni Sorkin, curator Alexandra Munroe, and other contributors, including curators and a scientist from NYBG. The publication will focus on Kusama’s lifelong engagement with nature and the ways her interest in nature and plants has formed her career-long investigation of themes of the cosmos and the interconnectedness of all living things. Images of works displayed in The New York Botanical Garden landscape will be featured.
Since reopening July 28, 2020, the Garden has incorporated safety measures based on best practices and guidelines from health authorities and government agencies. Admission to the Garden is currently available through the advance purchase of timed tickets. Visit the website for more information.
KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature has a new, limited, timed-entry ticketing system to stagger visitors arrivals and promote social distancing. Advance purchase of timed tickets is required and will be confirmed by e-mail with the option to print or download a mobile ticket.
The following options are available:
- KUSAMA Garden & Gallery Pass includes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature outdoor installations across the grounds and access to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, installations in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building and Ross Gallery, as well as interior access to Flower Obsession and Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity in the Visitor Center Gallery, plus the Tram Tour and Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
- KUSAMA Garden Pass (Non-NYC Residents) includes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature outdoor installations across the grounds, plus Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
- KUSAMA Garden Pass (NYC Residents) includes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature outdoor installations across the grounds, plus Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
A separate timed-entry ticket will be required to access the interior of Infinity Mirrored Room Illusion Inside the Heart. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
NYBG welcomes Bronx Health Care Heroes and Bronx Neighbors to KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature with complimentary tickets. Communities in the Bronx are among the most severely impacted by COVID-19 in New York City. Through these community access initiatives, the Garden seeks to acknowledge, with gratitude, the dedication, strength, and resilience of Bronx frontline health care workers and residents. Additional information about these initiatives is available at this website.
Visit NYBG for additional ticketing information and pricing and to sign up for e-mail alerts about the exhibition.
Exhibition on view April 10—October 31, 2021. Tickets available at nybg.org/kusama
http://nybg.orgAdvance, timed tickets go on sale to the public on March 16 for The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) 2021 exhibition KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, featuring work by internationally celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. NYBG is the exclusive venue for KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature. On view April 10 through October 31, 2021, the exhibition will be installed across the Garden’s 250-acre landscape, in and around the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, and in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building. Highlights include new works made especially for NYBG. Spectacular seasonal horticultural displays will complement the artworks and an array of programs and activities will make each visit unique. Pictured above, Hymn of Life-Tulips, 2007, will be displayed in the Conservatory Courtyard Hardy Pool.
Visit nybg.org/kusama for additional ticketing information and nybg.org for more information about NYBG’s offerings.
About The New York Botanical Garden
Founded in 1891, The New York Botanical Garden is the most comprehensive botanical garden in the world and an integral part of the cultural fabric of New York City, anchored in the Bronx. Visitors come to the Garden to connect with nature for joy, beauty, and respite, and for renowned plant-based exhibitions, music and dance, and poetry and lectures. Innovative children’s education programs promote environmental sustainability and nutrition awareness, graduate programs educate the next generation of botanists, while engaging classes inspire adults to remain lifelong learners. The 250-acre verdant landscape—which includes a 50-acre, old-growth forest—and the landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory support living collections of more than one million plants. Unparalleled resources are also held in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the world’s most important botanical and horticultural library with 11 million archival items spanning ten centuries, and William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, the largest in the Western Hemisphere with 7.8 million plant and fungal specimens. Committed to protecting the planet’s biodiversity and natural resources, Garden scientists work on-site in cutting-edge molecular labs and in areas worldwide where biodiversity is most at risk.
KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature is presented by:
Major Sponsors: Tom and Janet Montag and MetLife Foundation
Generous support provided by: Citi and Delta Air Lines
Digital experience provided by: Bloomberg Philanthropies
Additional support provided by: Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; and The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature
Exhibitions in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory are made possible by the Estate of Enid A. Haupt.
LuESTHER T. MERTZ CHARITABLE TRUST: Providing leadership support for year-round
programming at NYBG
The New York Botanical Garden is located at 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458. For more information, visit nybg.org
The New York Botanical Garden is located on property owned in full by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. A portion of the Garden’s general operating funds is provided by The New York City Council and The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The Bronx Borough President and Bronx elected representatives in the City Council and State Legislature provide leadership funding.