I went to the Kusama exhibit and my life will never be the same

In November, the High Museum of Art opened their highly anticipated Infinity Mirrors exhibit by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. As the pre-sale tickets are sold out, going can be quite the ordeal.

I chatted with the manager of exhibitions Jill Wickenheisser, coordinator of museum interpretation Katie Domurat, and coordinator of school and teacher services Meg Williams to learn more.

Kusama is one of the world’s most recognized artists, with tours of her work selling out venues around the world. At 89, Kusama is still making art and writing every day. Her work has influenced some of the greatest artists, such as Claes Oldenberg and Andy Warhol.

While living in New York between 1958 and 1973, Kusama worked closely with important artists of the 1960s art world—including Eva Hesse, Allan Kaprow and Donald Judd. In the early 60s, her work transition from paper to experimental works, notably her first Infinity Mirror Room, and Happenings (performance art) to protest the Vietnam War.

Now, the only way to get tickets is to wait in line hours before they go on sale, as The High Museum of Art makes 100 tickets available daily for purchase to a lucky few.

“We are also the only United States venue to offer school visits for the show! We have almost 7,000 students, teachers, and chaperones signed up to see the exhibition,” says Williams.

 

 

Preparing for such a show was quite the challenge. Wickenheisser said, “This show was unlike any other at the High Museum and was truly a team effort. Due to the popularity and intricacy of the show, everyone from visitor services, ticketing, digital media, communications, and our installation team had to think through all the details and be on the same page. We even created a staff handbook.”

The exhibit features six of her Infinity Mirror rooms, as well as sculptures, paper works, and a film. It also features The Obliteration Room, where visitors get stickers to place on the wall in an all-white room, essentially making an exhibition themselves.

“An important quote by Kusama that sums up her perspective,” Domurat claims, “And what she is trying to convey to her audience is, ‘Our Earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos.’ Viewers often leave feeling like a small piece in a beautiful, larger whole.”

The exhibition will be on display until February 17. Walk up tickets will be available until February 10. Tickets for the final week of Infinity Mirrors (February 11–17) will go on sale February 5 beginning at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available online on the 5th, and walk-up tickets will not be offered during the final week. General tickets are $29, member tickets are $14.50. 

 

All photographs taken by Makeda Phillips