Yayoi Kusama’s 'Mirrored Room' at David Zwirner Gallery
Adam Friedman emerged from the twinkling lights and reflecting water of Yayoi Kusama’s "infinity room" and groped for the right words. "Ethereal," he said. Pause. "Calming." Another pause. "Calming, ethereal and meditative, all at the same time."
These were hard-won adjectives under the circumstances. Mr. Friedman, a 28-year-old computer salesman from Highland Park, N.J., had just spent nearly three hours in line at the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea, pelted intermittently by sleet and rain, inching slowly toward a very brief reward: 45 seconds in a mirror-lined room hung with 75 colored LED bulbs that flickered and pulsed in a celestial celebration. On a typical day, about 2,500 people turn out to take this brief trip to Ms. Kusama's private cosmos. Almost from the moment that her multipart exhibition, "I Who Have Arrived in Heaven," opened on Nov. 8, "Infinity Mirrored Room — The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away" has become an art-world attraction to rival "Rain Room," the immersive installation presented at the Museum of Modern Art this year.
"We had lines at the opening," said Anita Ragusa, the manager of David Zwirner's 19th Street galleries. "Once it hit social media, and people told their friends about it, everyone wanted to make sure to see it."
The line usually begins forming about an hour before the gallery opens at 10 a.m. Throughout the day, it moves at a snail's pace, as docents, hired to manage the flow, admit one or two people at a time to the twinkling-lights chamber, with the slow, steady regularity of a drip feed. About 1,000 will make it in. The show closes Dec. 21.
It is not the usual gallery crowd. Social media, especially photographs on Instagram, have spread the word to a broad, mostly young, demographic: tourists, students, followers of Ms. Kusama's work, who saw her installation "Fireflies on the Water" at the retrospective of her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art last year.