Yayoi Kusama: Cosmic Nature


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Yayoi Kusama’s groundbreaking work has mesmerized audiences since her first exhibitions in New York in the 1960s. Known for working in a broad range of media – including painting, performance, sculpture, and installation – in recent decades she has risen to worldwide fame through the explosive popularity of her mesmerizing infinity mirror rooms and vibrant sculptural installations. Yet the critical importance of botanical imagery and the artist’s interest in nature has been under-represented in American exhibitions to date. Plant and landscape imagery are inextricably woven into Kusama’s art practice and writings, and many of the artist’s earliest memories and artworks stem from her formative experiences surrounded by flowers and plants in the greenhouses of her maternal family’s seed nursery. Through examination of works from Kusama’s adolescence to the present, this landmark exhibition at the New York botanical Garden, and the accompanying catalogue, will trace the artist’s recurring engagement with natural forms and her surrealist exploration of biomorphism, patterns of accumulation inspired by organic growth, and visions of the boundlessness of the living universe. Integrating horticulture and art ranging from the artist’s early sketches to monumental, immersive works making their debut at NYBG, this exhibition will explore the profound impact of the natural world through new, critical perspectives on Kusama’s philosophy of life. The catalogue brings together renowned experts on this important artist’s work, including Mika Yoshitake, curator of Kusama’s blockbuster 2017 exhibition on the infinity rooms; Alexandra Munroe, senior curator at the Guggenheim, who has been working with the artist for many years, and Jenni Sorkin, curator and art historian, who is writing on the artist for the first time at length.

Additional information

Dimensions 241 × 267 mm

Mika Yoshitake

Author Bio

Mika Yoshitake is an independent curator, and most recently Curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. At the Hirshhorn, she curated Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors (2017) and many other exhibitions. A specialist on postwar Japanese art, Mika earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from UCLA.
Alexandra Munroe is Senior Curator, Asian Art and Senior Advisor, Global Arts at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Jenni Sorkin is is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at University of California, Santa Barbara.
Barbara Ambrose is Director of Laboratory Research and Associate Curator of Plant Genomics at NYBG.
Karen Daubmann is Associate Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Engagement at NYBG.
Joanna Groarke is Director of Public Engagement and Library Exhibitions Curator, NYBG.