Yayoi Kusama Lands at the New York Botanical Garden

Famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama — known for her usage of polka dots and Instagram-popular “Infinity Rooms” — is the subject of a much-anticipated exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden.

“Kusama: Cosmic Nature” opens on April 12, delayed from last year due to the pandemic. The exhibition, which is ticketed, is sure to be a popular draw. (The artist’s well-documented Infinity Rooms have been known to attract long lines and impressive wait times.)

The NYBG show is the first comprehensive exploration of the influence that nature has had on the artist’s practice. Kusama was raised around her family’s seed and plant nursery in Japan, and much of Kusama’s work is rooted in botanical imagery — pumpkins, flowers, trees — rendered in fantastical patterns, colors and sizes. The prolific artist has lived, voluntarily, at a mental hospital in Japan since the late ’70s.

Kusama’s sculptures are scattered throughout the botanical garden’s 250 acres (and accompanied by special horticultural displays) and indoor exhibition spaces. In addition to previous work being shown, “Cosmic Nature” includes four new works, including a new outdoor Infinity Room installation (“Illusion Inside the Heart”) and “I Want to Fly to the Universe,” which will be presented in the Visitor Center Reflecting Pool. Also on view are sketches, works on paper and archival photographs.

“Cosmic Nature” will be on view through Oct. 31, 2021. An illustrated exhibition catalogue will be published in collaboration with Rizzoli Electa later this summer.

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