Yayoi Kusama To Take Over New York Botanical Garden, Adding Infinity Room And Colorful Installments

Published on November 4, 2019

All 25o acres of the New York Botanical Garden are set to get a major upgrade by the spring of 2020. Iconic Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, known for the wildly popular and Instagram-friendly infinity rooms that have popped up in modern art museums around the world, will be spearheading the project to bring a unique experience to the botanical gardens, filled with color, shape, and Alice In Wonderland-esque designs that are sure to flood your Instagram feeds throughout 2020.

The exhibition, titled “Kusama: Cosmic Nature” will explore Kusama’s relationship and perception of nature in a 250 acre exhibition that brings to life her childhood sketches of nature and prolific pieces throughout her career. The Botanical Garden, which spans a massive park area near the Bronx Zoo, is equipped to transform its space into a psychedelic, color-filled wonderland of Kusama’s works. Much of the exhibition will be outdoors, spanning throughout the massive garden space, but other elements of it will be within the historic buildings littered throughout the park area. Within the historical buildings, tributes to Kusama’s works from other artists will adorn the interiors. Inside the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building, many of Kusama’s works—including sketches of her artistic process throughout the creation of the exhibition.

“Kusama’s profound engagement with nature will be represented in depth, with multiple installations, including her signature mirrored environments and organic forms, colossal polka- dotted sculptures of flora, mesmerizing paintings, and her first-ever participatory greenhouse installation,” wrote the New York Botanical Garden in a press release, announcing details of the upcoming exhibition. “Sketchbooks from her youth portend Kusama’s lifelong fascination with the natural world that has inspired her aesthetic throughout her prolific career,” the press release continued.

Kusama’s Impact on the New York Art Scene

Although Yayoi Kusama was born in Japan, she moved to New York in 1958 after seeking artistic advice from Georgia O’Keefe. Upon moving to the city, Kusama found her niche in the art world and began making waves in the avant garde artistic movement that represented much of New York’s counterculture in the latter part of the twentieth century. By 1963, Kusama had solidified her place in the artistic canon of that era, as her infinity room installments began to gain traction. Even today, Kusama’s infinity room installments are some of the most popular installments in museums around the world. Today, Kusama’s expansive works have made her easily one of the most prolific artists alive today.

In Japan, Kusama’s works have experimented with how we look at nature. Massive sculptures of abstract interpretations of the natural world, reimagining a use of color in nature, and uses of industrial materials to create works that incorporate themselves with nature are all part of her repertoire. Installments have popped up in some of the busiest spaces in the world—from Singapore’s Orchard Road to New York’s Central Park. Kusama’s expansive exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden will run from May 9, 2020 to November 1, 2020. Tickets for the exhibition go on sale to both members and the public on January 15, 2020.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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