• Kristy Calabro

Why We Wait: for the Art, the Hype, or the Likes?

There are a few living artists that come to mind, that cause mass hysteria when it comes to art fandom: KAWS, perhaps Koons, and definitely Kusama.


Festival of Life, an exhibition by 88 year old, Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, just opened at the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea. A multi-dimensional, conceptual artist, Kusama, is known for her paintings, sculptures, and infinity rooms.

I decided to check out the exhibit on its opening weekend, last Saturday. I got on the very lengthy line at around 1:40pm. About, a half hour in, three people in front of me left and went to another gallery. A few people behind me had their friends hold their spots while they went to grab lunch. Others just had lunch delivered to them on line.

There’s fear of missing out (FOMO), and then there’s the fear of not knowing. It’s funny to observe the passers-by reactions not quite sure what we were all waiting for; a combination of confusion and amusement. This also included a handful of cars slowing down on the West Side Highway inquiring what all the fuss was about. We turned the questioning into a game. Whenever someone stopped and asked, a different person on line would shout, “KANYE!”, or “FREE iPHONE X!” Yes, it may be cruel, but we had to entertain ourselves somehow. Did I mention, a four hour wait! But, why did we wait? A question I kept asking myself partly to pass the time, but also hoped I would answer by the time all this was over.

The line went from W19th, around 11th Ave., and all the way down W20th. At around 3pm, we made it to 11th Ave. and it took about an hour and a half to get back to the street that the gallery is on (W19th), to finally inside at around 5:30pm.


Once inside, we had to wait another 10 minutes. We were ushered in to the first room in groups of four. A gallery worker, observing the whole process held a timer set for one minute. With ten seconds to go, she started counting down...10, 9, 8... We then moved on to the next installation, but first had to put protective booties over our shoes for the sake of the art. When you walk into a Kusama Infinity Room, from floor to ceiling, you are totally submerged in her art.


Why do we wait? There’s a status, or a buzz that comes along with being one of the first or just one of the lucky ones that get to see the exhibit. Not everyone has the opportunity to experience it or for one reason or another, maybe they just can’t wait.

So is it the art, the hype, or the likes? I guess it’s all of the above. You can’t have the hype or get the 'likes' without the art. The experience, the art, and the ability of sharing, is all important and in the end, getting some recognition is nice too.

For more information: visit https://www.davidzwirner.com/

David Zwirner Gallery

525 W. 19th St.

Open: Mon.-Sat.10am-6pm (closed Sundays)

Yayoi Kusama's Festival of Life: November 2-December 16, 2017

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