Yayoi Kusama at The Broad

I still feel rather ambivalent about the ‘instagrammable museum’ phenomenon, with galleries, installations, and exhibits designed specifically with the selfie and instagram in mind. On the one hand, I love to post these cleverly crafted images just as much as the next person, but on the other, churning people through these instagram factories seems to cheapen the experience in some way. Regardless, when my friend Jenny had an extra ticket to the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at The Broad while I was in LA, I jumped right in on the opportunity to check it out.

The Broad (rhymes with road) is just down the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and it makes for quite the stretch of interesting architecture.

Tickets to the exhibit are basically always sold out, but if you’re extra ambitious, you can wait in line all day for the standby tickets.

I visited this Infinity Room the last time I visited The Broad, but I had all the wrong camera settings and my photos were terrible. I did a little better this time. If you are giving it a shot, I’d recommend center pinpoint focus and manual exposure since the lights flash and vary quite widely in their brightness while you’re inside.

The Kusama exhibit is basically a series of rooms. Here’s how it works: you line up at each room, and when it’s your turn, you’re allotted 45 seconds inside while they close the door behind you. It makes sense that this is how it would have to be, since the room must be enclosed for the mirror effect to work. And yet the line-up and 45-second process makes the whole thing rather nervewracking.

What to do? I basically hurried along, taking the same photo that thousands of other people have taken before me. Still fun, I think?

 

 

And at the end, you’re released into the dot room with your own panel of dot stickers. No time limit on this one! What a luxury.

And when it was all done, I headed upstairs for a little peek at the permanent collections.

So all in all, I am glad I got to go, but it definitely wasn’t a relaxing museum experience. What do you think? Have you visited the Kusama exhibit, the Ice Cream Museum, the Color Factory, the Happy Place, or another one of these galleries? Perhaps without the time crunch the others are a more balanced experience!

Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco but often traveling and working around the world. She creates beautiful, soft, and timeless imagery while capturing the most fleeting of moments. View her work at annawu.com, follow her daily adventures on instagram, or contact her to book your own session today.

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