Yayoi Kusama, “Pumpkin,” 1994. Plastic and polyurethane paint. Installation at Benesse Art Site Naoshima, Kagawa.
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The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian’s museum of modern and contemporary art, will unveil the monumental artwork “Pumpkin” by celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama on its outdoor plaza Dec. 10, in advance of the holiday season. This marks the U.S. museum debut for the whimsical sculpture, whose surreal scale and bold yellow-and-black pattern embody two of Kusama’s most recognized motifs: pumpkins and polka-dots.
“Pumpkin” will be on display through spring 2017, when it will be featured in the highly anticipated Hirshhorn exhibition “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” (Feb. 23, 2017–May 14, 2017), the first major traveling survey exhibition to explore the evolution of Kusama’s immersive infinity rooms.
Legendary painter, sculptor and performance artist Kusama (b. 1929, Tokyo, Japan) uses the pumpkin as a signature form, embracing the gourd as both an allegory and a form of self-portraiture in paintings, drawings, sculptures and some of her most important installations. She has said, “It seems pumpkins do not inspire much respect. But I was enchanted by their charming and winsome form. What appealed to me most was the pumpkin’s generous unpretentiousness. That and its solid spiritual base.”
“Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Pumpkin’ is a tribute to her most beloved motif, at once endearing and grotesque, and almost pulsing with energy,” said Hirshhorn associate curator Mika Yoshitake. “Seeming to grow from the beds of the Hirshhorn plaza gardens, this crowd-pleasing work adds a vibrant focal point to the museum’s world-class display of international sculpture.”
Visitors are invited to pose with the iconic sculpture, and post their photos using #InfiniteKusama for a chance to be among the first 10 VIP visitors to see “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” opening weekend.
About the Hirshhorn
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. With nearly 12,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, mixed-media installations, works on paper and new media works, its holdings encompass one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all, 364 days a year. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu.
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