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Postcards from the NY Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY, USA

KUSAMA - I Want To Fly - NY Botanical Gardens - photo by Luxury Experience
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The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is a spectacular 250-acre landmark oasis located in Bronx, New York that we love visiting year-round. Each season there is something different to experience as the gardens come into bloom, and their new exclusive art in the garden exhibition, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, which runs until October 31, 2021, should be experienced in every season. Featuring the impressive works of the acclaimed contemporary Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, set amidst the garden’s spectacular flowers and foliage, the large-scale sculpture installations enchant and delight the senses.


We visited the NYBG the morning of Friday, April 16, 2021 to experience their new exclusive exhibition, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, which opened on April 10, 2021 and runs until October 31, 2021. Beautiful in every season, there was something about visiting the NYBG in spring that was especially delightful when the cherry trees looked like fluffy pink clouds that "rained pink confetti" when the wind gently blew. A majestic yellow magnolia (Magnolia "Elizabeth" magnoliaceae) tree bountiful with blooms also captured our attention, and vast yellow and white seas of daffodils and jonquils undulated in the slight breeze. We were already enchanted, and we had not yet even seen any of the sculptures by Yayoi Kusama!

KUSAMA - Gold Pumpkin - NY Botanical Gardens - photo by Luxury Experience

Born in Japan in 1929, Yayoi Kusama was surrounded by nature at her family’s seed nurseries and began sketching seeds and flowers at a young age. She has attracted widespread acclaim and her art has taken her around the world, including living in New York (1958 – 1973), where she immersed herself in the avant-garde movement. Her spectacular large-scale public sculptures have a vibrant energy and are colorful, whimsical, surreal, fantastical, and provide viewers with new insight and perspective into looking at the secret world of plants. One cannot help but be impressed after experiencing her stunning works.

KUSAMA - Pumpkin and Conservatory - NY Botanical Gardens - photo by Luxury Experience

Our first glimpse of the exhibition was at the Visitor Center where our eyes were treated to Kusama’s I Want to Fly to the Universe (2020), a stunning 13-foot biomorphic form done in electric blue, bright red with white polka dots highlighted with a yellow "face" accented with blue polka dots. It was a perfect intro into her creative genius.

KUSAMA - Dancing Pumpkin - NY Botanical Gardens - photo by Luxury Experience

Kusama’s use of color, textures, and an array of materials help define her creative works including Dancing Pumpkin (2020) set in front of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, an immense work featuring bright yellow urethane paint with her iconic black polka dots repeating throughout the mega-sculpture measuring approximately 197 x 117 x 117 inches (16.4 x 9.5 x 9.5 feet) (500 x 297 x 298 cm). This work must be viewed from both the outside as well as the inside to fully appreciate its force, energy, and creativity.

KUSAMA - Flowers - NY Botanical Gardens - photo by Luxury Experience

Set throughout the gorgeous NYBG grounds, the KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature sculptures totally thrilled our senses. Her iconic polka dots that feature prominently in her works had us looking closer at nature to look for her inspiration, making us take a closer look at Queen Anne’s Lace and Fritillaria meleagris with their definitive dot patterns.

Frittalia - NY Botanical Gardens - photo by Luxury Experience
Fritillaria Meleagris

As the sculptures are located throughout the grounds, do allow ample time to experience them as well as take time to appreciate the various gardens. The sculptures are found inside, outside, and rising from the Conservatory Courtyard Hardy Pool, where we discovered Hymn of Life – Tulips (2007). Their whimsical floral shapes and bright colors reflected in the water had a delightful playfulness that totally captivated our imaginations.

KUSAMA - Hymn of Life - NY Botanical Gardens - photo by Luxury Experience

On our walk to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, we were enchanted to find soaring trees wrapped in vibrant red and white polka dot fabric for her installation Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees (2002/2021). Imagine our surprise and vast delight as the majestic trees were brightly wrapped like gifts from nature, which indeed they are.

KUSAMA - Wrapped Tree - NY Botanical Gardens - photo by Luxury Experience

We discovered more of her sculptures as well as paintings on canvas, assemblage boxes, and sketches from her 1945 sketchbook inside the library building. Interesting to note is that one of the paintings featured there is replicated in colorful plantings inside the conservatory gardens.

KUSAMA - Sculptures - NY Botanical Gardens - photo by Luxury Experience

We spent several very enjoyable hours walking throughout the gardens, experiencing Yayoi Kusama’s genius, and taking the tram to see the breathtaking beauty of the NYBG bursting with spring blossoms. While visiting in the spring was wonderful, with lilacs, roses, and peonies soon coming into bloom, followed by summer and autumn gardens, the exhibition is one that deserves visiting in every season. Art and nature, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature celebrates both and is a "must see."

KUSAMA - Polka Dot Art Work - NY Botanical Gardens - photo by Luxury Experience

With COVID-19 safety guidelines in place, tickets are timed-entry, visitors must wear masks and observe social distancing, and reservations are required. Be sure to reserve your tickets well in advance to not miss this dynamic exhibition.

About the NYBG

The New York Botanical Garden is a 250-acre oasis located in Bronx, New York. Founded in 1891, the garden attracts year-round visitors with its exquisite beauty, spectacular exhibitions, and interesting programs. It is a National Historic Landmark located in Bronx, New York where its nearby neighbors include Fordham University and the Bronx Zoo. Do allow a minimum of 3 hours to thoroughly experience the New York Botanical Garden and its many programs.

Other special exhibitions and events, such as Members-Only Previews, may cause early closing of Garden areas. Exceptions are also made for evening events, which may take place after normal Garden hours. For specific hours on the day of your visit, please see their calendar on the website: www.nybg.org/plan_your_visit/

The Garden, its buildings, and its tour vehicles are accessible to people with disabilities, except for a few areas where the terrain is naturally uneven. Wheelchairs are available free of charge at both Garden entrances, on a first-come, first-served basis (reservations are not accepted). An ID must be left with Visitor Services. Visit the website for additional information: www.nybg.org/visit/accessibility.php

Please visit the website for additional information on the NYBG, the KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, upcoming programs and events, and admission: www.nybg.com

New York Botanical Gardens - Bronx, New York, USA

New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, New York 10458
United States
Telephone: +1-718-817-8700
Website: www.nybg.org
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/NYBotanicalGarden
Twitter: @nybg
Instagram: @nybg

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