New Yayoi Kusama sculpture takes center stage in downtown Des Moines at the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park
Des Moines, IA (February 2018) – Philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn have donated funds to the Des Moines Art Center for the purchase of a new sculpture, Pumpkin (L), 2014, fabricated 2018, by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, soon to be installed in the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines.
Pumpkins are one of the artist’s most beloved motifs. Both endearing and grotesque, the giant gourds have been a source of inspiration for the artist since her childhood, when she was surrounded by her family’s seed nursery in prewar Japan. She sees pumpkins as representing growth, comfort, familiarity, protectiveness, nourishment, and whimsy. The element of dots, often seen in the artist’s work, suggests the notion of infinity, repetition, and obsession. For the artist, pumpkins also represent a source of radiant energy. She has written, “Pumpkins bring about poetic peace in my mind. Pumpkins talk to me.” Viewing the pumpkin as both humble and amusing, this whimsical vegetable comes to represent an alternative selfportrait of the artist.
Kusama is one of the most significant artists working today. At 88, she has been a working artist for 65 years. Currently, her five-city exhibition Infinity Mirrors is traveling North America to blockbuster attendance, and response from both the field and the public has been overwhelming. Requests for the Art Center’s four Kusama works currently in the permanent collections are constantly requested for exhibitions at other institutions worldwide.
The Art Center is organizing a related exhibition, opening March 30, 2018, at the museum, 4700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines.