If the idea of spending $40 to access an art exhibition for four minutes gives you pause, just remember: that pause will cost you over 16 cents every second.
Beginning Oct. 5, the general public will be able to book first-come, first-served tickets to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Yayoi Kusama show, Infinite Love, with a $10 surcharge on regular ticket prices (starting Oct. 14, that’s $30 for adults, $23 for the 19–24 set).
You might know the 94-year-old Japanese artist’s work from social media, where her name alone has over one million tags attached to Instagram reels and posts of her art: whimsical pumpkin sculptures, magical infinity rooms and objects covered with the iconic dots that “are symbols of the world, the cosmos,” according to the artist.
In an age when many people want to flout their experience of art by uploading it to their profile — which projects like the Color Factory and the Museum of Ice Cream are more than happy to oblige — Infinite Love’s arrival at SFMOMA has obvious appeal. But for as viral and critically acclaimed as her work is, this particular staging is disappointingly lackluster.
The SFMOMA show — two mirrored rooms that visitors are allowed to be in for just two minutes each — invokes infinity, a motif the artist is well known for. The first, Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love, features boundless reflections of vibrant circles and half circles. The room is indeed breathtaking, as colorful and trippy as the tesseract scene in Interstellar. The quiet stillness of the expanse that surrounds viewers is the high point of the experience, but it’s not long before you’re shuttled out by a very punctual museum attendant.
The second room, LOVE IS CALLING, is mirrored like the first but riddled with Ursula-esque tentacles instead of large-scale polka dots. A recording of Kusama reading her poem “Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears” plays on a loop in Japanese. The verses are thoughtful reflections on death, love and art, but they’re sweeping to the point of being pleasantly forgettable.