To Infinity and Beyond, at the Hirshhorn

Craig Meklir Uncategorized

Remember waiting in line for hours — even overnight sometimes — for tickets to popular acts like Elvis, the Rolling Stones, or Lady Gaga? Or Black Friday deals at Best Buy?

Well, tickets to Yoyoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn are making the same kind of stir. On opening weekend, the museum was overwhelmed with visitors whose enthusiasm waned somewhat when they had to queue up for hours, despite their timed passes. A Washington Post article about the popularity of the exhibit had the headline: Lines for the Kusama exhibit at the Hirshhorn appear infinite.

Beginning March 22nd, the museum will stay open until 8 on Wednesday nights to help accommodate the crowds.

And what is all the fuss about?

Yayoi Kusama
All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016
Wood, mirror, plastic, black glass, LED
Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore and Victoria Miro, London. © Yayoi Kusama

Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors is breathtaking and captivating, but what heightens the experience for visitors is that they can meld with the exhibit, being inside of it and part of it at the same time.

Infinity Mirrored Room – Love Forever, 1966/1994, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Wood, mirrors, metal, and lightbulbs. Photo by Cathy Carver

Plus, with today’s ubiquitous selfies, who can resist seeing their face reflected a million times?

The 87-year-old Kusama has been working with mirrors since the 1960s, when she began experimenting with lights, objects and music in the reflection rooms. A favorite theme of Kusama’s has been polka dots, and she has incorporated them into her show in the Hirshhorn as well, this time as adornments on pumpkins, walls and phallic symbols.

If you miss the show here at the Hirshhorn, which continues until May 14th, you may be able to see it elsewhere. Following its Washington, DC, debut, the show will travel to five major museums in the United States and Canada. The exhibit hits the west coast next. It is open at the Seattle Art Museum from June 30–September 10, 2017 and The Broad in Los Angeles from October 21, 2017–January 10, 2018.

The Obliteration Room, 2002 to present
Furniture, white paint, and dot stickers
Dimensions variable
Collaboration between Yayoi Kusama and Queensland Art Gallery. Commissioned Queensland Art Gallery, Australia. Gift of the artist through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2012.
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
Photograph: QAGOMA Photography
© Yayoi Kusama

But beware: The Broad’s website warns, “This installation has extremely limited capacity. Not all visitors are able to experience it.”

The Hirshhorn, 7th Street SW and Independence Avenue; Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays; free; Infinity Mirrors through May 14

Feature photo credit:  Yayoi Kusama with recent works in Tokyo, 2016
Photo by Tomoaki Makino
Courtesy of the artist © Yayoi Kusama