Typhoon Damages Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin Sculpture in Japan

A typhoon packing winds as high as 78 miles per hour swept away a yellow, polka-dot pumpkin sculpture by the artist Yayoi Kusama from its perch on the tip of the Japanese island of Naoshima on Monday.

The highly recognizable artwork and tourist attraction suffered unspecified damage from the storm and was recovered, the Benesse Art Site, where the pumpkin was exhibited, said on Twitter. It was not immediately known when the artwork would be displayed again.

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

直島のシンボルが…..#台風9号 pic.twitter.com/7l9b65ivSe

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, which is about 6 feet 7 inches tall and 8 feet 4 inches wide, was installed in 1994 on Naoshima, an island known largely 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.

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

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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