The most popular exhibition in Washington DC this year, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors, is free but that doesn’t guarantee you a visit. The Smithsonian’s Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is hosting the retrospective exhibition that showcases six of the Japanese artist’s famed Infinity Mirror Rooms and some of her other multimedia art. The exhibition opened 23rd February 2017 and will close 14th May 2017 and while the museum offers visitors free timed passes it is near impossible to get them.
Each Monday at noon passes are released online. Within seconds they are all sold out. Of course moments later they can be found on Craigslist for beaucoup d’argent. After weeks of failing to get one, I decided to try for a same day ticket. I showed up at the museum at 7:45 am this Good Friday in a Spring Break Week and found myself in a line about 100 people deep. By the time the museum opened at 10 am the line had circled the museum about twice. It was a cold chilly morning (50s F) and I was a tad under-dressed so in no time at all myself and my fellow troopers where all sniffling or jogging in place to stay warm. Finally, at about 11 am I made it to the ticket counter and got the next available entry ticket at 2:15 pm, last entry being at 3:45 pm. Yes, many were not able to get tickets despite standing in line for hours. Word to the wise – if you are going to try this strategy, dress accordingly for standing a long time exposed to the elements, bring something to do, and arrive early especially on the weekends.
I explored the museum’s usual exhibition including the Ron Mueck’s Big Man sculpture which is usually the main attraction here, and a special orchid exhibition. I also went out for lunch at the nearby The Smith, a transplant from New York City and I ate all my pomme frites, diet be damned! I returned at 1:45 pm to stand in yet another line outside for entrance to the museum.
The Infinity Mirror rooms use, you guessed it, mirrored walls and lights to give an illusion of infinite space. The rooms feature polka dots, pumpkins, or lights. But guess what else?
For each room, there is yet another line, guarded by an attendant with a stopwatch who allows groups of 2-3 inside for a mere 20 seconds each, then you are told to “keep it moving”, and you do, rushing to the next line. I skipped one room, The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, because I could not bear to wait what seemed to be at least an hour for 20 seconds of flickering LED lights.
So was it worth it? Yes! Yes I say as I sit here, all bundled up, still sniffling, throat raw, mug of hot ginger lemon honey tea in hand. Yes!
p style=”text-align: center;”>Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos.
Yayoi Kusama, 1968