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Typhoon damages famous pumpkin sculpture

  • NEW YORK TIMES / APRIL 7
                                Famed artist Yayoi Kusuma is known for her signature dotted sculptures exhibited across the globe. One swept away by a typhoon Aug. 9 in Japan resembles the images of dotted pumpkins in her “Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity,” on display at the New York Botanical Garden.

    NEW YORK TIMES / APRIL 7

    Famed artist Yayoi Kusuma is known for her signature dotted sculptures exhibited across the globe. One swept away by a typhoon Aug. 9 in Japan resembles the images of dotted pumpkins in her “Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity,” on display at the New York Botanical Garden.

A typhoon with winds as high as 78 mph swept away a yellow, polka-dot pumpkin sculpture by artist Yayoi Kusama from its perch on the tip of the Japanese island of Naoshima Aug. 9.

The highly recognizable artwork and tourist attraction was recovered but suffered damage, the Benesse Art Site, where the pumpkin was exhibited, posted on Twitter. It did not say when the piece would be back on display

A video circulating on social media showed violent waves thrashing the pumpkin about like an enormous and beautiful seashell, revealing its hollow innards.

Staff members at Benesse Art Site usually haul away the artwork before typhoons, but they did not reach it in time. One man was missing after the storm made landfall, according to local reports.

The pumpkin, about 6 feet, 7 inches tall and 8 feet, 4 inches wide, was installed on Naoshima in 1994. The island is known for its art museums. The sculpture has long been an Instagram darling, with tourists lining up to pose next to it against the backdrop of the Seto Inland Sea.

Kusama is among the world’s most popular artists, opening more than 20 versions of her immersive “Infinity Mirror Room” and creating a balloon in 2019 for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Similar pumpkins, featuring her trademark polka-dot style, can be found at sites in cities across the world, including the New York Botanical Garden. They have been sold for millions at auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

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