Yayoi Kusama: Cosmic Nature

Year after year, Yayoi Kusama creates striking installations in museums across the world. Be it powered by light, crawling up tentacles, or bedecking shirt to shoes, one shape screams Kusama: the polka dot.

‘My life,” Kusama says, ‘is a dot lost among thousands of other dots.’

This year, as Kusama turns 91, she is taking her dots outside. Kusama: Cosmic Nature will be set in the New York Botanical Garden.

‘With NYBG as the exclusive exhibition venue, Kusama reveals her lifelong fascination with the natural world, beginning with her childhood spent in the greenhouses and fields of her family’s seed nursery. Her artistic concepts of obliteration, infinity, and eternity are inspired by her intimate engagement with the colors and patterns of plants and flowers.’


Starting May 9, visitors to the Garden will find Kusama’s floral and polka-dotted sculptures, plant-based paintings and an unfurling of zinnias, salvias, violas, chrysanthemums. They’ll see her 2017 Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity, her 2007 Hymn of Life: Tulips.

Cosmic Nature will also feature 2020 works from Kusama: Dancing Pumpkin, and I Want to Fly to the Universe. In entering Flower Obsession – Kusama’s ‘first-ever obliteration greenhouse’ – visitors will be invited to enhance the space with floral stickers.

It wouldn’t be Kusama without an Infinity Mirrored Room. Illusion Inside the Heart is an outdoor installation that reacts to changes in light from day to night, from Spring to Fall.

‘A polka dot has the form of the sun,’ says Kusama, ‘which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colourful, senseless and unknowing. Polka dots can’t stay alone; like the communicative life of people, two or three polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to infinity.’

Kusama’s NYBG exhibit is scheduled to end in November, 2020. As we anticipate the gardens, here are some examples of her past work from NPR.



Kusama 2019

Photos courtesy of the artist


Cookies Of Cookies + Cream


Jamie Evrard 2020

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton