Largest Yayoi Kusama Exhibit Ever Opens in New York City

The “Princess of Polka Dots” unveils new paintings, sculptures, and one of her signature Infinity Mirror Rooms.

Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins

Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers runs from May 11 to July 21, 2023, at David Zwirner in New York City.

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

On May 11, world-renowned, polka-dot-and-pumpkin-obsessed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama unveiled her latest works at New York City’s David Zwirner in an exhibit titled Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers. It is the largest Kusama exhibit to date and spans the galleries at 519, 525, and 533 West 19th Street.

After Kusama was born in Matsumoto, Japan, in 1929, she moved to New York City in 1958 and soon became an integral part of the pop art scene. She is primarily known for her polka-dotted sculptures and large-scale installations, like her popular Infinity Mirror Rooms, which are intended to invoke an out-of-body experience through the use of lights and mirrors. This show marks a decade since her first exhibition at David Zwirner.

The exhibition gets its name from three massive flower sculptures, each titled I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers. Designed to be experienced in the round, these sculptures are located within the gallery at 519 West 19th Street.

"Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers": 3 large dotted flowers at David Zwirner gallery

The three I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers sculptures

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

At the far end of the exhibit—at 533 West 19th Street—Kusama’s iconic polka-dot pumpkin motif is found on three wall-like sculptures that undulate across the gallery floor.

Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins

Polka-dot pumpkins are a recurring motif in Kusama’s art.

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

The showstopper at the center of the exhibit is a brand-new Infinity Mirror Room called Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love (2023). Located within the gallery at 525 West 19th Street, this Infinity Mirror Room features round-colored windows that let in both natural and artificial light in a dizzying array of red, blue, yellow, and green dots. Visitors are allowed to experience the room individually (or with a friend) in two-minute windows.

Yayoi Kusama "Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love" (2023): large red, blue, green, and yellow dots

Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love (2023)

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

Behind the Infinity Mirror Room is one last gallery holding 36 paintings that are part of Kusama’s series EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE (2021–present).

Three paintings in Kusama's series "EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE" (2021–present) at David Zwirner gallery

Three paintings within Kusama’s series EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE (2021–present)

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

How to plan your visit to “Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers”

Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers runs from May 11 to July 21, 2023, across the David Zwirner galleries on West 19th Street between 10th and 11th avenues in Chelsea.

Admission is free and based on a first come, first serve basis. However, visitors to previous Kusama exhibitions at David Zwirner have been known to wait anywhere from half an hour to two hours, so it’s best to go early. The gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m from Tuesday through Sunday every week.

For those planning to visit New York to see this exhibit, the Hotel Chelsea and the Moxy NYC Chelsea are both within walking distance of the David Zwirner galleries. The Hotel Chelsea, which reopened in February 2022 after a thorough revamp, is a 15-minute walk away, while it’s about a 20-minute stroll from the Moxy.

For more Kusama in NYC, a large mosaic created by the artist went on permanent display at the Grand Central Madison train station earlier in 2023.

Other Kusama exhibits on display in the United States

Travelers unable to make it to New York to see I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers still have some options to get their Kusama fix. Two Infinity Rooms are located at the Broad in Los Angeles, one at the Hirshhorn Collection in Washington, D.C., and a three-story-tall one opens on May 12 at Chicago’s WNDR Museum.

Lyndsey Matthews provided additional reporting to this article. This article was originally published on April 13, 2023; it was updated on May 11, 2023, with current information.

Mae Hamilton is a former associate editor at AFAR. She covers all things related to arts, culture, and the beautiful things that make travel so special.
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