Kusama’s Art

- —Kathleen Rellihan

01 New York Botanical Garden New York City

This spring you can immerse yourself in the artist’s fascinatio­n with the natural world at NYC’S 250-acre living museum as she debuts a 16-foot bronze sculpture, Dancing Pumpkin

(2020), an outdoor infinity mirrored room, Illusion Inside the Heart (2020) and and a firstever “obliterati­on greenhouse” installati­on.

02 Inhotim Brumadinho , Brazil

One of Kusama’s most iconic— and at first controvers­ial— pieces is Narcissus Garden, which debuted at the 33th Venice Biennale in 1966. An installati­on of 1,500 plastic silver globes it was a jab at commercial­ization and repetition in the art world. Now the piece has been recreated all over the world, as it is here with 500 stainless steel spheres floating in a pond in one of Latin America’s largest outdoor art centers.

03 The Tate Modern London

Another show postponed due to COVID-19, Tate Modern’s Kusama exhibition is scheduled to open in spring 2021. Her signature immersive infinity mirror rooms here will include Filled With the Brilliance of

Life and Chandelier of Grief, a room of rotating crystal chandelier­s, as well as photograph­s on display for the first time showing the history of her mirrored rooms.

06 Gropius Bau Berlin

Lifelong as well as more recent fans can follow the trajectory of Kusama’s seven decades of creative output with this comprehens­ive retrospect­ive tracing her work from early paintings and rise in popularity in the mid-1960s to her lesser-known work in Germany and Europe, as well as debuting a new immersive infinity mirrored room.

05 Kistefos Museum Jevnaker, Norway

The polka dotted tentacles of Shine of Life rise 20 feet out of a historic wood pulp mill inlet in the heart of Kistefos Musuem’s outdoor sculpture garden. A site-specific piece amidst woodland and water, it rests in good company: the 1,000-squaremete­r Twist gallery/bridge/sculpture is a stroll away.

04 Place François Mitterrand Lille, France

Kusama’s first public sculpture in Europe, Les Tulipes de Shangri-la, a creation taken from her Flower Power series, is a pop of color and joy that will stop you in your tracks amidst the dull grey cityscape of Lille’s railway station.

She’s been dubbed the “world’s favorite artist.” But while images of her kaleidosco­pic infinity rooms are hot on Instagram, she’s no derivative newcomer to the art scene. This Japanese pop-art icon has been creating fresh work since the 1950s, and her creative output hasn’t subsided. Now a nonagenari­an who has voluntaril­y made a home for herself in a Tokyo psychiatri­c asylum, Yayoi Kusama continues to produce the signature larger-than-life polkadotte­d pumpkins, reflective rooms and myriad other pieces that first captivated the world long before social media. This year, shows of her work that had been postponed in 2020 by the pandemic are scheduled to open, including the New York Botanical Garden’s much anticipate­d “Cosmic Nature” exhibit. From Japan’s rural islands to Berlin’s avant-garde museums, this eccentric master’s art work will be on display all over the world.

07 Ota Fine Arts Singapore

While Kusama is known for her bursts of color, the artist departs from her vibrant hues in Recent Paintings, on view at Ota Fine Arts in Singapore. Featuring 15 monochrome paintings, and Clouds, a sculpture installati­on of mirror stainless steel forms, this exhibit shows how her work has continued to evolve in recent years.

08 Benesse House Hotel Naoshima, Japan

This yellow polka-dotted pumpkin on a pier is the unofficial symbol for Japan’s contempora­ry art mecca. But you won’t find this giant gourd in the ultra-modern metropolis of Tokyo; instead, it’s on a small sparsely populated rural island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea.

09 Yayoi Kusama Museum Tokyo

Opened in Shinjuku in late 2017, this is the first permanent museum dedicated to Yayoi Kusama, fittingly in her home country of Japan. The fivestory museum let fans immerse themselves in all the struggles it took for Kusama to become an artist on the world stage.

10 National Gallery of Australia Canberra, Australia

Kusama is known for her love of a certain gourd. She’s been drawn to pumpkins since she was a child and has attributed that to “their humorous form, warm feeling and a human-like quality.” Step into her whimsical world with the The Spirits of the Pumpkins Descended into

the Heavens, an immersive installati­on of black dots around a mirrored box.

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