Last weekend, I took a quick trip to Washington, DC and had the opportunity to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum.
A little background information: Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist known for creating dot patterns through painting, drawing, sculptures, film, performance, and immersive installations. Kusama lives by choice in a psychiatric institution and continues to create art. She sees polka dots in most of the world and some of her art stems from psychological trauma and hallucinations.
This was the video that made me intrigued with who she is as an artist and her work:
Inside Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors Exhibit
The entire exhibit takes up the third floor of the Hirshhorn, and there are six infinity mirror rooms. Visitors are only allowed 20 seconds in each room (30 seconds for The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away) and must go in groups of 2-5 to get the full effect of being completely surrounded by the mirrors and patterns.
I unfortunately was not able to see all of the rooms because the lines to get into each took about 20 minutes each—close to an hour for the most popular one: The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, which is filled with colorful LED lights that mimic space.
The only room that did not allow photography was the one called “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins,” which is filled with glowing, spotted pumpkins. Kusama’s sculpture of this pumpkin is on display outside of the museum.
My favorite room, out of the ones I went to, was “Love Transformed into Dots,” which is filled with polka-dotted balloons, but the best part is that it was all pink. You can enter the mirrored room to be surrounded by large vinyl balloons and look into peephole to see mirrored domes. I loved how it was a contrast of macro versus micro sizes.
What to Know Before You Visit Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room
There will be a LOT of waiting involved. People begin lining up for tickets at 6am, and they’re free. Tickets are released at 10am for different time slots throughout the day in 15-minute intervals. Only several hundred tickets are released, so once they are all gone, that’s it for the day. However, even if you get a ticket, there will be a lot of waiting involved.
As I mentioned earlier, the most popular infinity mirror rooms can take about an hour to wait in line for, so anticipate dedicating at least two hours in the exhibit. Also, you are not allowed to bring bags into some of the rooms, so it is advised to store your belongings in a free locker room on the lower level or just put your bag on the floor outside of the infinity mirror rooms.
Once you enter the exhibit, you are not allowed to leave, so plan to use the bathrooms and eat/drink in advance. The only restrooms are located on the lower level of the museum. Once you go through the Obliteration Room—a room with white walls covered in stickers—you are not allowed to re-enter the exhibit.
Most importantly, make sure your phone/camera batteries are charged because this is an extremely Instagrammable, social media-friendly experience.