Yayoi Kusama’s monumental Pumpkin is on view on the Hirshhorn Plaza now, and it will remain there through the course of the exhibition. For Kusama, pumpkins represent a source of radiant energy. They 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 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 self-portrait of the artist.