Yes, there is a best way.
The Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit — currently at the Hirshhorn Museum (a Smithsonian museum) in Washington D.C. — is intense. And there is a best way to see it.
The exhibit will be traveling to five more destinations in addition to the Hirshhorn:
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, Feb 23–May 14, 2017
- Seattle Art Museum, June 30–Sept 10, 2017
- The Broad, Los Angeles, Oct 21, 2017–Jan 10, 2018
- Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, March 3–May 27, 2018
- Cleveland Museum of Art, July 9–Sept 30, 2018
- High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Nov 18, 2018–Feb 17, 2019
Put it on your calendar because you are NOT going to want to miss it!
I don’t know how the other museums will do the tickets, but at the Hirshhorn you can reserve a timed pass online on Mondays at noon eastern time for tickets the following week. The show is only through May 14th in DC so don’t wait, and the tickets go fast! If you can’t get your hands on a timed pass you can try to get one of the limited number of walk-up passes available at the museum starting at 10 am each day.
Violet Obsession (above)
So, why is there a best way to experience the exhibit? Because of the anticipation and crowds, it is busy and there are long lines. Because of this, you only get 20 seconds in each of the infinity mirror rooms. Which isn’t even enough time to really take it in, let alone get a good photo. So you have to go in with a game plan if you are wanting to get good photos.
Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (my favorite infinity room, above)
My Tips to Having Your Best Experience at Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors
+ Go through the exhibit twice. If getting photos is important to you, then honestly I’d recommend going through the exhibit twice. Go once just to experience it. No photos, no camera out, no rushing to get a picture. Then go back through (same day or come back another time) and do each room again, but this time, do it with the intention of getting the photo or video now that you’ve had the chance to experience it first. If you want to go the same day, you could just get right back in line after you experience each room. I know it sounds like a lot of waiting but I want to go back just to experience it after the frenzy of taking all these photos.
+ Just experience it! Forget your phone or camera and just experience it! Although I think most people will want at least a few photos…
+ Plan out the photos you want. 20 seconds is basically no time, so you don’t have time to think, hmmmm what angle do I want. Trust me, I did this. Then you end up flustered and you take a ton of photos at different angles and half of them are blurry. So, do some research on Instagram (search the hashtag #infinitekusama) and plan out the angles you want in each room. Don’t worry, you’ll have time while waiting in line to do this, but that will suck your battery.
+ Make sure your phone or camera is charged to the max. Even bring an external charger with you. You are going to want all the photos and all the videos.
+ Go in a group of three. Why? Because they make you go into each room with three people total, and having a stranger in your photos may not be ideal if you had an aesthetic plan. So grab two friends, coordinate, and go together.
+ Wear a solid color. Unless you are super creative and have a special polka dot outfit for the photos, I recommend wearing a solid color. All black or red seemed to be the best for photos. Yellow or pink are also themes, so you could wear those also. Or solid color on top and dark pants on bottom. Obviously this is only if you care about blending in to the photo or coordinating with the exhibit.
+ Eat before you go and wear comfortable shoes. You will be there for a while waiting in line. We were getting hangry (angry/hungry) by the end.
+ Try to get tickets for 10 am. That is the first available. By getting the first tickets there will be less people there and shorter lines.
+ Be early, don’t miss your ticketed time.
+ If you care about photo quality, bring your nice camera. I took these photos on my iPhone, but my bringing my camera would have resulted in much better photos.
These photos don’t even begin to do the experience justice, you really should go see and experience it for yourself.
Love Transformed into Dots (above and below)
Things to Know About Yayoi Kusama & the Infinity Mirrors Exhibit
+ Kusama is 87 and voluntarily lives in a hospital for the mentally ill in Japan.
+ The Hirshhorn exhibit, organized by the museum’s associate curator Mika Yoshitake, is the first to bring together six of the infinity rooms into one exhibit.
+ Kusama has consistent motifs through her work spanning decades — repetition, infinity, and polka dots — as you will quickly see from the exhibit.
+ She started working on her Accumulations or “soft sculptures” in the 1960s. She used the creation of these phallic works as a self-therapy to help conquer her fear of sex.
Infinity Nets painting (above)
Accumulations (soft sculpture)
Accumulations (soft sculpture)
The Obliteration Room
Photos by Meg Biram, shot on iPhone6 (wish I had brought my real camera!)