NYC-ARTS

S2021 E519 | CLIP

NYC-ARTS CHOICE: "KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature" at NYBG

A visit to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx for "KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature." The installation features the work of contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, revealing her lifelong engagement with the colors, patterns, and cycles of plants and flowers. Guest curator Mika Yoshitake is our guide.

AIRED: May 06, 2021 | 0:07:49
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO NYC ARTS.

I'M PAULA ZAHN.

ON TONIGHT'S PROGRAM WE VISIT

THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN IN

THE BRONX.

FOR COSMIC NATURE.

IT FEATURES THE WORK OF

CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE ARTIST.

REVEALING HER LIFELONG

ENGAGEMENT WITH THE COLORS,

PATTERNS AND CYCLES OF PLANTS

AND FLOWERS.

SHE LIVED IN NEW YORK CITY

BETWEEN 1958 AND 1973.

AND WAS KNOWN AS A PAINTER AND

PERFORMANCE ARTIST AT THAT TIME.

TODAY, AT 92 YEARS OLD, SHE'S

BEST KNOWN FOR HER WHIMSICAL

PUMPKINS.

AND ENGAGING INFINITY MIRROR

ROOMS.

VISITORS TO THE GARDEN CAN ENJOY

HER WORK.

IN THE LIBRARY.

IN AND AROUND THE CONSERVATORY

AND ACROSS THE GARDENS

LANDSCAPE.

VIVID DISPLAYS COMPLIMENT THE

ART WORK ON VIEW OVER TIME.

MAKING EACH VISIT UNIQUE AS THE

SEASONS CHANGE.

WE SPOKE WITH THE GUEST CURE TOR

ABOUT HER SINGULAR VISION AND

EXHIBITION ON VIEW THROUGH

OCTOBER 31.

GARDENS BUT NOT TO THIS SCALE.

THE ART WORK ACTUALLY ENHANCES

THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.

AND VICE VERSA.

HER VISION OF NATURE IS

SOMETHING THAT IS NOT AN

OBJECTIVE OF NATURE.

BUT MORE VISCERAL.

IT'S AN EM BODIMENT OF BOTH THE

BOTANICAL WORLD AND RELATIONSHIP

TO THE COSMIC UNIVERSE.

THE GALLERY BASE IS HER

ENGAGEMENT WITH NATURE.

SHE WAS BORN IN 1929 IN THE

MOUNTAIN REGION.

AND HER FAMILY OWNED A SEED

NURSERY.

FROM AN EARLY AGE SHE WAS

EXPOSED TO MANY DIFFERENT KINDS

OF FLOWERS AND PERIWINKLE.

SHE NOT ONLY DRAWS THE FLOWERS,

BUT THE ANATOMY IS VERY

REALISTIC.

YOU'LL SEE A PROGRESSION OF THE

WAY THAT HER WORK SHIFTS FROM A

VERY REPRESENTATIONAL TO A

SURREALIST EXPRESSION.

THERE'S A PAINTING CALLED

SELF-PORTRAIT.

SHE MADE IN 1950 WHEN SHE WAS

21.

IT'S A SUNFLOWER WITH A PAIR OF

FLIPS FLOATING.

THIS ALMOST HUMAN LIKE CHARACTER

SHE ADDS TO THE PLANTS.

MY ETERNAL SOUL THAT'S THE NAME

OF THE SERIES OF PAINTINGS SHE

BEGAN IN 2009.

AND SHE'S NOW MADE OVER 700

CANVASS.

THERE WAS ONE PIECE CALLED A

ALONE BURIED IN THE GARDEN.

AN ABSTRACT PIECE THAT HAS A

PATCH WORK OF DIFFERENT COLORS

AND BOLD BLACK OUT LINES THAT

DIVIDE EACH OF THE PATCH WORK

AREAS.

THIS IDEA OF PERHAPS ADAPTING TO

REPRESENT THAT.

AS A FLOWER GARDEN.

A FLOWER BED.

SOMETHING THAT WOULD NEVER

HAPPEN IN A MUSEUM.

WHEN YOU'RE IN THE CONSERVATORY

YOU WILL PASS THE FLOWER BED.

WHICH ARE INSPIRED BY THE PIECE.

>> PUMPKINS ARE SPECIAL TO HER.

SHE HAS SO MANY DIFFERENT KINDS

OF FORMS AND SHAPES.

WE HAVE A HUMAN LIKE CHARACTER.

THE FIRST MEMORY SHE HAS WAS OF

HER GRANDFATHER TAKE HER THROUGH

THE FIELDS AND DISCOVERING

PUMPKINS.

THAT MOMENT OF DISCOVERY WHEN

SHE WAS WALKING THROUGH THE

MEADOW AND HAPPENED AUPON TA

PUMPKIN AND THE OOZE OUT OF THE

STEM AND IT WAS A VISCERAL

EXPERIENCE.

STARRY PUMPKIN.

A METALLIC MOSAIC.

PINK AND SITUATED INSIDE THE

CONSERVATORY.

WITH SEASONAL FLOWERS

SURROUNDING IT.

IT LOOKS LIKE A MEADOW.

THAT YOU HAVE COME UPON THIS

BEAUTIFUL STARRY PUMPKIN.

AND THEN THERE IS A 16 FOOT

SCULPTURE.

BRAND NEW.

CALLED DANCING PUMPKIN.

I THINK MOST PEOPLE MIGHT BE

SURPRISED TO SEE IT BECAUSE IT'S

IT HAS 11 LEGS.

AND IT ALMOST LIKES LIKE A JELLY

FISH OR SPIDER.

IT'S CALLED DANCING PUMPKIN.

THERE'S ONE LEG LIFTED UP AND

LOOKS LIKE IT'S ABOUT TO DANCE

OFF INTO OUTER SPACE.

AND THEN WE HAVE ONE MIRROR

ROOM.

IT'S CALLED PUMPKINS SCREAMING

ABOUT LOVE BEYOND INFINITY.

IT'S QUITE INTIMATE.

SMALL PIECE.

AND IT'S IN A VERY DARK SPACE.

IT'S TWO WAY MIRRORS ENCASED

CUBE WITH PUMPKINS THAT ARE

GLOWING INSIDE.

AND IT'S A VERY INTIMATE

EXPERIENCE OF LIKE A VAST FIELD.

YOU HAVE TO FOCUS ON THE

REFLECTION.

AND IT WILL JUST START TO

EXPAND.

THERE'S A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE

BOTANICAL WORLD WITH THE HUMAN

TACTILE SENSATION.

AND WITH THIS SUBLIME FEELING OF

COSMIC EXPANSION.

ILLUSION INSIDE MY HEART A FREE

STANDING MIRRORED CUBE.

BEGINNING OF THE EXHIBITION,

PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO

EXPERIENCE FROM THE OUTSIDE.

AND IT'S AMAZING BECAUSE IT

REFLECTS THE BOTANICAL GARDEN

AND ALMOST DISAPPEARS.

YOU GO INSIDE, YOU SEE IT'S

EXPANSIVE UNIVERSE.

THIS IS 1,500 STAINLESS STEEL.

FLOATING ON WATER.

AND IT REFLECTS THE ENVIRONMENT.

SO IT'S BEAUTIFUL DISPLAY THE

WAY THAT THE WIND CURRENT

COMPLETELY CHANGES THE

ORIENTATION AND THE REFLECTION

OF THE DIFFERENT TREES AND WILL

QUICKLY CHANGE AS THE SEASONS

CHANGE.

THE POKE DOT WHICH SHE'S WELL

KNOWN FOR.

IT'S NOT JUST A FLAT DOT.

IT'S A SPHERE.

SHE'S TALKED ABOUT THE POLKA DOT

AS A SUN.

OR A MOON.

THERE'S THIS OUT DOOR SCULPTURE

THAT WE HAVE HAD IN THE

REFLECTING POOL IT'S CALLED I

WANT TO FLY TO THE UNIVERSE.

I'M SURE THAT PEOPLE WILL BE

VERY SURPRISED BECAUSE IT'S NOT

QUITE A FLOWER.

IT'S NOT QUITE AN ANIMAL.

IT'S A MOTIF THAT IS DRAWN FROM

ONE OF HER MY ETERNAL SOUL

PAINTINGS.

IT'S NOT ONE THING.

THAT IS CHARACTERISTIC OF HER.

PRESENTING HER WORK HERE IS SO

DIFFERENT AND ACTUALLY SO

ENLIGHTNING.

ESPECIALLY IN THE PANDEMIC.

ERA.

BECAUSE WHAT I THINK A LOT OF

PEOPLE REALIZE IS THAT WE ARE

ALL VULNERABLE.

AND THERE IS AN ELEMENT OF

COEXISTENCE.

HER WORK BETWEEN HUMANS, NATURE

AND COSMIC.

AND EVEN WITH LIFE AND DEATH.

LIKE A CYCLE.

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