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.

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> 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.