A minute of infinity at Yayoi Kusama show

The writer comes face to face with his selfie in one of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms — entitled “Longing for Eternity” — in Chelsea. Photo by Bob Krasner

BY BOB KRASNER | What’s it worth to spend one minute in infinity?

At the moment, one can go to The Broad in Los Angeles, where the Yayoi Kusama exhibit that recently broke records at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., has taken up residence. But even if you’re going to be in the neighborhood, advance tickets for the big draw — the six Infinity Rooms — are already completely sold out at $25. (A handful of standby tickets are available each day for $30.) So what is one to do if the plan is to emulate Katy Perry and Adele, with an Infinity Room selfie on Instagram? Well, we’ve got good news. And bad news. You can head over to the David Zwirner Gallery, at 525 and 533 W. 19th St., where two of the 88-year-old artist’s mirrored wonders are on display as part of the two-gallery extravaganza entitled “Festival of Life.” It’s free and no advance tickets are required. That’s the good news.

There’s something of a wait to get in (here’s the bad news) — at least three hours — and that’s on a weekday. Reports from the first Saturday, Nov. 3, mentioned a line that took more than four hours to reach the finish line. The gallery reports that on the previous night, at the opening, 1,265 people — some of whom got in line at 3 p.m. for the 6 p.m. start time — saw the exhibit. Zwirner graciously extended the viewing time an hour past the original 8 p.m. ending in order to accommodate the line.

It’s hard to describe how it feels to stand inside Kusama’s creation, a small room made with mirrors and filled with silver balls that seems to go on forever — but that’s possibly because the experience is over so quickly. Exactly 60 seconds after you are let in, you are ushered out again.

The second work is one that you peer into through a small round hole, with lights that frequently change patterns, color and luminosity.

Both are unique, dazzling experiences that leave one wishing there were more time to take it all in. A third room is a sculpture installation, also a brief experience.

You can take all the time you want, however, in the adjoining gallery, where 76 large paintings literally fill the walls. It is a testament to Kusama’s seemingly endless supply of ideas and her love of art. It is worth taking the time (maybe while you are on line) to read up on the artist’s life story. The Chelsea exhibit runs through Dec. 16.

While the Japanese artist goes to her studio pretty much every day, her residence is apparently a home for the mentally ill, which she voluntarily checked herself in to around 40 years ago. Although she was unable to attend the opening, she welcomes the daily updates on attendance and press notices sent to her by the gallery.

So, is the seemingly infinite wait worth it for the very finite experience? Well, it’s the only way that you’re going to get that selfie.

There is another show of her paintings at the David Zwirner location Uptown. For more information, visit  davidzwirner.com .

3 Responses to A minute of infinity at Yayoi Kusama show

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *