yayoi kusama: infinity mirrors

Seattle Art Museum (SAM) has been host to the yayoi kusama: infinity mirrors exhibit since June 30th. The exhibit ends on September 10th so I had limited time to visit. Over the weekend, I attempted to round up my family. For days, I had recited warnings of how important it was to get there hours before SAM opens, only to be ignored by cranky, sleepy people who didn’t want to get out of bed. We finally left the house at 8:30am and arrived at SAM around 9am, after paying $10 for all day parking. That $10 bought peace of mind as we saw countless people running back to their cars to feed the meters. By 9:15am, the line around the block was completely full and a secondary line across the street had started. SAM opened doors slightly before 10am and everyone was excited! That’s because no one told us we had a longer wait ahead of us. The line curled through the museum and we reached the ticket window at 12:30pm. Three and a half hours later.

Was it worth it? Yes, and if I had to do it over again, I would have snagged tickets online before they sold out. I would have also gone when the exhibition opened without my family who kept saying they wanted to go without demonstrable commitment. Lest you think standing in line is just for tickets, have no fear. More lines are waiting for you during the exhibit! There are lines for infinity mirror rooms, strict time limits of 20-30 seconds in each room, and you may have your party split or be asked to join a stranger in a room. Overall, I’m glad we went. To say that it was visually stunning is an understatement.

Here are the Infinity Mirror Rooms in the order we saw them (except for All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins because cameras were not allowed:

Phalli’s Field

This was the brightest infinity room and a great way to open the exhibit.

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Phalli’s Field

Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity

I found this room to be the most powerful. The lighting, the effect, and ultimately, the blackout made for the optimal experience.

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Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity

Love Forever

This room had mirrored exterior walls and featured two square peepholes for people to look in and see themselves, the other person, and reflections. The colors of the lights also changed periodically.

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Dot’s Obsession-Love Transformed into Dots

This installation is actually a number of different features. The room itself has a number of large pink balloons with black dots. Inside one of the balloons is the mirror room (pictured below). High on the wall, a video projection of yayoi kusama plays in a loop. The final piece is my favorite – the peep-in mirror dome (second picture below).

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Balloon Mirror Room
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Peep-In Mirror Dome

The Obliteration Room

After you’ve been through the infinity rooms, you are led to The Obliteration Room. It started as a white room, and is now almost completely covered in dots. Visitors are handed a sheet of stickers when they enter the room.

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Obliteration Room

Accumulations

Aside from the installations, there are a number of paintings and Accumulations or soft sculptures.

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The exhibit ends on September 10th.  As of the writing of this post, SAM is running special hours. yayoi kusama tickets are only available on the day of your visit unless you already bought them.

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