On August 9, Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin” art piece was knocked loose from its iconic spot at the end of a pier by strong winds and large waves from a typhoon, and swept into the sea.
Kusama’s open-air artwork was installed on Japan’s Naoshima Island in 1994. Over the years, the pumpkin has become the most recognizable and beloved art piece among the Art Islands, which are a group of 12 islands home to contemporary works and exhibits in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea.
Yayoi Kusama’s black and yellow pumpkin was captured being tossed around in the waves on video, but the artwork was thankfully retrieved. The hollow sculpture is over six feet tall and eight feet wide.
— 歪みっぱなしの帝国. (@ppdisundia) August 9, 2021
According to Benesse Art Site Naoshima, the pumpkin was damaged and the display of the artwork has been suspended. “We are currently restoring the damaged work and it will not be available for viewing for some time,” the announcement explains. Indeed, the video shows a substantial crack in the sculpture.
The Washington Post reported that the pumpkin is usually moved from its stunning display location when there’s bad weather in the forecast, but it appears that yesterday’s typhoon came unexpectedly, leaving staff unable to protect the artwork.
US-based admirers of Kusama are able to see her work at the New York Botanical Garden until October 31, 2021. The exhibit, “Kusama: Cosmic Nature,” includes a brand-new infinity room experience, and, of course, pumpkins covered in polka dots.