Hirshhorn is a Smithsonian’s Museum, which means there’s is a free entry. However, in this case I’d much rather pay for the tickets than go through the ordeal of getting my free pass. Generally, there are two ways to get in – you either get a timed pass online or you come in the morning and line up for the same-day walk up timed pass. Or you could also donate money (the smallest donation suggestion I saw was $250, but someone told me you could do $50) and become a member and visit as often as you like whenever you want to.
The only problem with the online passes is that they are released once a week, on Mondays, for the following week, starting 12:00pm. By 12:00:50 they are all gone. Yes, you read it right, in 50 seconds 9,000 passes are gone because there are at least 80,000 people trying to get them at the same time. Insane.
Another way is to come early the day you want to visit. By early I mean really early. A friend told me today they came in shortly after 8am and got their passes for 1:30pm. I honestly applaud the determination – I don’t think I’d be able to do that, so I tried my luck online.
I got nothing the first time I tried – I think because I was naive and wasted precious nanoseconds selecting the date and time that worked best for us. By 12:01pm I got the note that all passes for the week were gone. The following Monday the stars were on my side and I already knew to only select a day without specifying my time preference (a.k.a. “first available”). Lucky me! – and this Saturday afternoon we joined hubdreds of people who got hyped up by Kusama’s artwork.
I’m not a big fan of pasting Wikipedia articles to my blog, so if you care to learn more about Yayoi Kusama, 88-year-old Japanese artist, who lives in the mental institution in Japan for the past couple of decades, click here. This lady lived!
The exhibition’s main points of interest are 6 infinity rooms: “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins”, “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity”, “Love Transformed into Dots”, “The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away” (my favorite) , “Love Forever” and “Phalli Field”. Five of them you can walk into, one of them you can peep into. I can tell you I was impressed by looking at the photographs from the exhibition, and seeing them with my own eyes totally delivered.
The place was crowded. No, CROWDED. We were let in exactly at 3:45pm, and before that we were given so many instructions as if we were going to be sent to the outer space. Following the artist’s recommendations, each room should host no more than 3 people, and due to the large number of visitors each stay was timed to 20-30 seconds. I’m not joking, the ushers used the timer for everyone who went inside the infinity room.
Now let me nag. I thought that the whole idea of obtaining the tickets being mission impossible was bad. But it gets better. Regardless of the time you got in, they stop line admissions at 5:10pm. Which means, if you are in line, you will be let inside the room, but if you aren’t – tough luck. I’m really struggling to understand why this could not have been done differently.
We spent 1.5 hours in the museum and didn’t get to see everything, because we got stuck for good 30 minutes in in the line for the Millions of Light Years room, and were too late to see the Pumpkins room. Now looking back I think we should just have gone in a random order, just wherever the line was shorter, but this is, of course, l’esprit d’escalier. This just means that I might try my luck online again – the exhibit is here till May 14th.
I don’t think the words can do this piece of art any justice, so hope, you enjoyed looking through my photos. If you are in DC Metro Area, try your luck with passes. If this exhibit comes to a place near you – definitely go see it. I hope it will be easier to get in for you, than it was for most of Washingtonians.:)