Tickets to the touring exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors have been selling out in every city that the record-breaking show has stopped in. Even before the exhibition opened at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles last October, the L.A. Times reported that the “hotter than Hamilton” art show had caused a “ticket-buying frenzy” that required the museum to extend its opening hours. Yikes.
Atlanta will be no different when Infinity Mirrors opens at the High Museum on November 18, 2018. If anything, tickets here may be even harder to come by since Atlanta will be the very last stop on the show’s epic nationwide tour. And the run in Atlanta is a relatively short one: the show closes February 17, 2019, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.
If you don’t plan ahead, you could easily miss out on what will undoubtedly become the year’s biggest art event. Spanning the entire second floor of the High’s Wieland Pavilion, Infinity Mirrors will take visitors on a trippy journey through more than 60 years of Kusama’s creative output, focusing on the evolution of her iconic kaleidoscopic immersive environments called Infinity Mirror Rooms.
Fortunately, ArtsATL has all the information you need as Atlanta gets ready for the blockbuster show’s arrival. Here is our handy guide to securing Kusama tickets at the High Museum:
— Guest passes, membership cards, coupons, regular museum tickets and the like will not get you into Infinity Mirrors on their own. You will need to purchase a special ticket for Infinity Mirrors.
— Museum members will get first dibs on tickets with a membership presale between August 27 and August 31, beginning at 10 a.m. daily until member tickets are sold out.
— Members who take advantage of the presale will pay half-price for Kusama tickets. Member presale tickets will be $14.50. After the presale, tickets will be $29 for members and nonmembers alike.
— If you are not currently a museum member and you’re dying to see the Kusama show, it may be worth joining to secure your best shot at getting tickets. Even without the Kusama presale and discount, membership has some nifty benefits such as free admission to the permanent collection, 10% off in the museum gift shop and café, discounted parking in the Woodruff Arts Center parking garage during museum hours and so on. There are various discounts available for students and seniors, and there are dual and family membership bundles available, as well (if you plan to see the show with a family member or friend, join together for your most economical option). Memberships can be purchased at www.high.org/membership/, in person at the museum or by phone at 404-733-4575.
— During the presale, students and individual members may purchase one regular admission ticket at $14.50 and up to 2 tickets for visitors ages 5 and under at $5 a piece. Dual/Family, Contributing, Patron and Circle members may purchase up to six tickets, including up to four tickets for visitors ages 5 and under.
— To be eligible for the membership presale, you must join by August 17. Membership may have its privileges, but there are still no guarantees. The High advises that tickets, even for members, are not guaranteed and must be purchased early.
— Practice makes perfect. The High recommends that all members try logging in here prior to August 27 to ensure a smooth ticket-purchasing experience.
— General admission tickets will go on sale September 17, beginning at 10 a.m. each weekday. Advance tickets must be purchased through the High’s website: www.high.org.
— During the general admission sale beginning on September 17, you may purchase up to six tickets, including up to four tickets for visitors ages 5 and under.
— Each day’s online ticket sales will end once that day’s allotment of tickets has been sold. If you strike out one day, don’t give up. Come back to the website bright and early the next day and try again.
— Approximately 140,000 tickets will be sold in all. The High is using the Queue-IT system to sell tickets for Infinity Mirrors. Due to the anticipated high demand for tickets, visitors will be placed in a virtual waiting room through Queue-IT. When visitors get to the front of the virtual line, tickets will be made available for purchase.
— Whether you’re a member or not, buy those tickets as early as you can! There’ll definitely be a rush to buy tickets when they go on sale, but we predict that the true crunch will begin once the exhibition opens, as word of mouth begins to spread and the closing date starts to loom. That is definitely not the best time to try to figure out how to get your tickets!
— Choose your time to visit carefully. Due to the popularity of the exhibition, all tickets will be sold for specific time slots. There are no refunds or exchanges for exhibition tickets, and tickets are nontransferable, so once you pick your date and time, that’s that.
— Almost any time will be a hectic time at the show, but we at ArtsATL have noticed that there is often a nice lull at the museum on weekdays just after 3 p.m. It’s after the school groups have departed but before the workday ends for most Atlantans. If you can manage to get to the museum during those hours, we predict it may be an especially auspicious window for spending some quality time with Kusama.
— If you’re attending with wee ones, some special rules apply. Tickets are $5 for visitors age 5 and under, whether they are attending with a member or nonmember. All visitors (including infants) must have a timed ticket. One adult must accompany every two children ages 12 and under. One adult may purchase up to two $5 tickets for ages 5 and under. Tickets for children age 6 and up cost the same as an adult ticket.
— Even if you don’t get tickets before the show opens, don’t despair. A limited number of tickets (approximately 100) will be available onsite at the museum each day for walk-up purchase beginning on November 18. Those tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and will be valid for that date only.
— VIP tickets are available for $175 each and include special viewing hours and an exhibition catalog (retailing at $49.95). VIP ticket times will be later in the evening, after the museum’s regular exhibition hours have ended. If you’ve got the dough, this actually sounds like a pretty nice way to skip the lines and experience the show with someone special.
More about the exhibition
Eighty-nine-year-old artist Yayoi Kusama is widely regarded as one of the most influential artists in the world. She grew up near her family’s plant nursery in Matsumoto, Japan. At 19, following World War II, she moved to Kyoto to study a traditional Japanese style of painting known as Nihonga that is typically made on washi paper or silk. During this period, Kusama began experimenting with abstraction, though it was not until her arrival in the United States in 1957 that she embraced it fully and began the phase that would characterize her mature work.
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 — while refining her signature dot and net motifs, developing her soft-sculpture pieces and creating her first installations and performance-based works.
In her 1965 Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field, Kusama first used mirrors to transform the intense repetition that marked some of her earlier works into an enveloping, seemingly endless experience. The artist returned to Japan in 1973 and has continued to develop mirrored installations, expanding her earlier work into immense and often immersive environments. Throughout her life Kusama has struggled with mental illness. In 1977, she checked herself into Tokyo’s Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill. She has been living at the hospital by choice ever since.
The exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors begins with the artist’s original landmark installation, Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field (1965/2016), featuring a vast expanse of red-spotted white tubers in a room lined with mirrors, which creates a dazzling illusion of infinite space.
The exhibition will also include Infinity Mirrored Room—Love Forever (1966/1994), a hexagonal chamber into which viewers peer from the outside to see colored flashing lights that reflect endlessly from ceiling to floor. The work is a recreation of Kusama’s legendary 1966 mirror room Kusama’s Peep Show (or Endless Love Show), in which the artist staged group performances in her studio.
Kusama’s signature bold polka dots will be featured in Dots Obsession—Love Transformed into Dots (2007), a domed mirror room surrounded by inflatables suspended from the ceiling. The artist’s more recent LED environments, filled with lanterns or crystalline balls that seem to extend infinitely, will be represented in Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (2009) and Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013).
“Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms open onto places within the imagination that are beautiful and transcendent,” says Michael Rooks, the High’s curator of modern and contemporary art. “Like sensory-deprivation chambers, they leave the viewer grappling to reconcile the totality of the cosmos with a sense of microcosmic infinity within the body.”
Also on view in the exhibition will be a selection of more than 60 paintings, sculptures and works on paper, including many of Kusama’s infrequently shown collages, which she made after returning to Japan following a stay in New York City from 1957 to 1973. These works trace the artist’s trajectory from her early surrealist works on paper, Infinity Net paintings and Accumulation assemblages to recent paintings and soft sculptures that highlight recurring themes of nature and fantasy, utopia and dystopia, unity and isolation, obsession and detachment and life and death.
New works in the exhibition include vibrantly colored paintings and the recently completed Infinity Room All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins (2016), filled with dozens of Kusama’s signature bright-yellow, dotted pumpkin sculptures.
The exhibition will conclude with Kusama’s iconic participatory installation The Obliteration Room (2002), an all-white replica of a traditional domestic setting. Upon entering, visitors will be invited to cover every surface of the furnished gallery with multicolored polka dot stickers to gradually engulf the entire space in color.
Prior to its presentation at the High, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors was on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (February 23–May 14, 2017); Seattle Art Museum (June 30–September 10, 2017); The Broad, Los Angeles (October 21, 2017–January 1, 2018); and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (March 3–May 27, 2018); and will be on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art, July 7–September 30, 2018.