The Garden’s seasonal display of pumpkins and gourds returns with a delightful added dimension this year as KUSAMA: Comic Nature features several artworks depicting pumpkins, a longtime obsession for the artist since her childhood spent in hothouses and fields of her family’s seed nursery. Accompanying Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity (2017)—a mirrored cube reflecting an infinity of polka-dotted pumpkins—is a statement by the artist that reads, in part, “My pumpkins, beloved of all the plants in the world. When I see pumpkins, I cannot efface the joy of them being my everything, nor the awe I hold them in.”
Beginning September 18, 2021, NYBG visitors will encounter a wide variety of pumpkins, squashes, and gourds arranged on the Conservatory Plaza and at the Library Building. On the Conservatory Lawn adjacent to the Plaza, Kusama’s monumental Dancing Pumpkin (2020) sculpture, which was created especially for the exhibition, greets visitors with its exuberant polka-dotted form.
Public programs dedicated to everything cucurbit—the pumpkin family name—will be available through October 31, from carving tips to fall recipes to decoration ideas. Check here for more details.
NYBG‘s beloved tradition of kiku—magnificent displays of chrysanthemums in astonishing forms, styles, and sizes—will be integrated with KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature and on view in select galleries of the Conservatory from October 2 through October 31, 2021. Kiku is the most celebrated of all Japanese fall-flowering plants, and this year’s presentation complements the artist’s signature polka-dot and bold patterned artworks that she attributes to her fascination with natural patterns she observes in the plant world.
The stunning kiku displays will be installed in dialogue with Kusama’s Starry Pumpkin (2015), echoing the pastel colors of the sculpture’s gold and pink polka-dotted mosaic surface, and in planting beds presenting vibrant red and orange varieties inspired by her painting Alone, Buried in a Flower Garden (2014).
In accordance with the training Botanical Garden experts received from kiku masters at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and passed on to their colleagues, NYBG horticulturists work for 11 months each year to grow and meticulously train and shape chrysanthemum plants. Cultivated from tiny cuttings, the kiku are pinched back, tied to frames, and carefully nurtured. Flower buds develop as the autumn nights grow longer and, in October, the plants burst into vibrant blooms.