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A flurry of Yayoi Kusama shows is about to open, but restrictions on its facilities may limit their appeal and number of visitors.




A still of Yayoi Kusamas Flower Obsession (Sunflower)
Collection of Yayoi Kusama, courtesy of NYBG

A Yayoi Kusama exhibition inaugurated this week at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) will include a newly commissioned version of the Japanese artists’ immersive celebration series Infinity Mirror Rooms, the centerpiece of many Kusama shows. The work Infinity Mirrored RoomIllusion in the Heart (2020) features a cube-shaped glass structure with a reflective surface pierced with small holes, but it may only remain visible from the outside depending on statewide restrictions.

The NYBG had planned to charge visitors an additional $ 10 (in addition to the $ 35 admission) to enter the facility, but announced that it will wait until summer to assess whether the guidelines for the state will allow visitors to enter the work. While it does not share information on ticket sales, such restrictions are likely to affect the number of people able to experience the immersive work, which in the past has led to queues. of several hours.

Managing density in the garden has been a major consideration, says a spokesperson. Tickets will be limited to a maximum capacity of 33% for outdoor venues and a maximum of 25% for indoor venues.

Another commission that will have to adapt to coronavirus restrictions is Obsession with flowers (2017/21) a greenhouse where visitors can apply coral-colored floral stickers to walls and interior items. The work is an iteration of Kusamas obliteration rooms, in which it invites the public to contribute to compositions in immersive virgin spaces. The interactive work has been staged around the world since Kusama launched in 2012, but carries a less carefree nature amid heightened fears around germs and shared surfaces. Participation will also be limited based on state-wide mandates.

Summer Flowers by Yayoi Kusama (1988)
Collection of Yayoi Kusama, courtesy of NYBG

Fortunately, there will also be non-contact works that don’t involve small, enclosed spaces. Among these will be a 16-foot-tall bronze sculpture titled Pumpkin dance (2020) in the grounds of the 250-acre garden and 13-foot-tall biomorphic sculpture I want to fly to the universe (2020) installed in the reflecting pool of the reception center of the gardens. The exhibition will also include archival photographs and other unpublished documents.

Last year, Kusama shared a post in support of the show’s rescheduling plans due to the pandemic. The passion that I and those at NYBG poured into this exhibit is still burning [and] Hope everyone will wait, she wrote.

And Kusama fans around the world are patiently waiting. This month, the Gropius Bau in Berlin is set to open a twice postponed Kusama retrospective in Germany, which will recreate eight landmark exhibitions that took place between 1952 and 1983, and illustrate how the artist’s practice and mediums evolved throughout throughout his career. Meanwhile, a long-awaited exhibition of two Kusamas Infinity Mirror Rooms in London, the Tate Modern was postponed from last year and is now slated to open in May, but coronavirus restrictions will seriously hamper the number of people who can visit the immersive facilities. Two more from Kusamas Infinity Mirror Roomsa revamped edition from 1965 and one from 2018 are due on display at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC in September.

In Art journals Survey 2014 visitor numbers, Kusama took the world by storm with two separate retrospectives simultaneously touring the Americas and Asia that were seen by over two million people. This year’s Kusama show bonanza takes place in a very different world, where exhibition crowds and confined interactive installations are no longer so appealing: Will audiences still be bonkers for Kusama in 2021?

Kusama: Cosmic nature, New York Botanical Gardens, April 10-October 31

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