Art exhibits might not be at the top of your Las Vegas to do list, but the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art will convince you otherwise. The gallery has played host to some of the most illustrious names in art, including Warhol and Picasso. Two of Yayoi Kusama’s installations, “Infinity Mirrored Room – Aftermath of Obliteration” and “Narcissus Garden,” comprise the current exhibit. Visit the gallery to find out why Kusama was named to TIME's 100 Most Influential People list.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Showing at the Bellagio from Nov. 17th, 2018 through April 28th, 2019 there is a wide window to visit this immersive experience. Only seventy-five guests are allowed in the gallery every hour, so purchase your tickets online ahead of time to ensure your entire party will be able to enter the same session. Depending on the level of crowds, the whole experience can last anywhere between fifteen minutes or the full hour. The Infinity Room was created to celebrate the artist’s 80th birthday, while Narcissus Garden was an unauthorized display at the 1966 Venice Biennale. Both have traveled the world separately.
The order in which you explore the available artwork is completely up to you. You can start by watching a movie, playing near the gallery entrance, in which Kusama (in tight close-ups) describes her work. After that, you can view the ‘garden,’ which is essentially a parted sea of 750 large, shiny ball bearings carrying your reflection throughout the room. Then you can join the queue for the Infinity Room. With each session inside the room lasting only forty-five seconds, the line moves quickly. While you’re waiting, read the large placards on the wall detailing the artist’s vision for both pieces, as well as the timeline of her life and career.
A Wrinkle in Time
The room itself, which from the outside looks like a white cube, can be experienced solo or with one other person. Once the door closes, you’re ensconced within the darkness of the cube. Burnt-yellow lights hanging all around flicker and reflect in the mirrored walls. The effect is one of a glimmering immersive landscape with no horizon. It simply continues on forever, reflected over and over.
Forty-five seconds can feel like the blink of an eye or stretch into eternity, it’s all relative. Time is something that happens outside of the room, almost ceding its power to the vastness of reflected infinity. This installation is a social media dream; it photographs beautifully, and bears great artistic caché. At least for the first few seconds, resist the urge to whip out your phone (or camera). Take the time to fully appreciate your surroundings before succumbing to the desire to document them.
Many have had epiphanies within the shimmer of those mirrored walls. But placing that sort of expectation on this exhibit does it a disservice. Approach this experience with an open mind, open heart and open eyes to simply revel in the beauty of the lights. This is a fleeting moment, and its enjoyment rests entirely in your hands.