Review: Inside Yayo Kusama 'Infinity Mirrors' exhibit at Hirshhorn

- The new Yayo Kusama 'Infinity Mirrors' exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the hottest ticket in town right now (yeah, and good luck with that)-- but does it live up to the hype? FOX 5 DC staffer Molly Nevola thinks so. Check out her first-hand account of the exhibit from opening weekend, complete with amazing pics, that will make you want to go. Right. Now. 

The sudden drop in temperature didn't deter long lines at the Hirshhorn early Sunday morning, the last day of opening weekend for the hyped Yayoi Kusama 'Infinity Mirrors' exhibit.

It was my first timed-ticket experience at the museum, and volunteers on hand certainly had their work cut out for them, as visitors formed multiple lines that wound through the outdoor rotunda waiting for their assigned ticket times. Even members, who were greeted in their own line by museum staff, anticipated a wait due to the popularity of this exhibit.

The Dolcezza coffee truck, covered in polka dots to match Kusama's motif, served patient visitors, some of whom lined up as early as 7.a.m.

The first batch of people was allowed in promptly at 10a.m., and myself and three friends were among the group.

It was immediately clear that jumping on early tickets was the best decision we made. With early access to the six infinity mirror rooms by Kusama -- the most ever presented together in one place -- lines stayed manageable at the beginning and only got more chaotic as the day went on.

What impressed me in particular was the great span of Kusama's work -- from her 1950's and 60's era paintings to modern sculptures from the 21st century -- scattered throughout the exhibit and in between each infinity room experience. (I'm still convinced that Hirshhorn curators who design and write wall text have the best jobs in the world).

One of the first installations -- 'Love Forever', 1966 -- is a hexagonal box with two face-sized windows for viewers to take a glance. I peered in and noticed a steady stream of heat on my face alongside a series of flashing colored lights and mirrors with a retro feel that went on to infinity and at points, went dark. It was wild, and I even considered circling back in line to experience it again.

Moving through the field of red-spotted phalli (a prominent theme in Kusama's work) and onto the galaxy-looking room entitled 'The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away,' we knew we were in for a surprise. We witnessed what was perhaps the first engagement proposal of this DC exhibit -- and kudos to him for fitting it into the 20-30 seconds that each mini group is allotted inside. She said yes!

We were disappointed to find that Kusama's famous pumpkin room, 'All the Eternal Love I Have For the Pumpkins,' was already temporarily closed for repair because, as a staff member told me, someone damaged something inside the room. The museum said it hopes to re-open it within two days.

Visitors can make their way through each section or room and even repeat them all, provided they wait in the individual lines for each, up until they enter the last room before the exit: the 'Obliteration Room' -- a room of all-white IKEA furniture covered in colored dots that viewers themselves place to become part of the art. There's a couch for lounging, a computer desk and even a piano, where I picked out a few notes. Talk about immersive.

In the end, for those who can't visit a museum or sensory event without ample time to reflect, prepare to feel slightly unfulfilled and wanting more.

Plan to visit a second time when the excitement subsides and perhaps sans-smartphone if you wish to drink in the art more slowly to evaluate and absorb -- something that a timed trip often hinders.

The exhibit runs through May 14. 

More exhibit and ticket info: Hirshhorn website

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