S.A.M.

A year and a half ago I had been captivated by an artist that was showing at my local museum here in Houston. After doing some research on her and visiting the exhibition with a few good friends of mine, I’d become obsessed with seeing more of her work.

Later that year I’d signed up for a class in San Francisco and decided to take 2 extra days before class started to drop by in Los Angeles, specifically to visit the museums in LA {that’s a whole other adventure for another time}, seeking out this artist’s work.

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Infinity Room- The Souls of a Million Light Years Away

She currently has a traveling exhibit through the U.S. When I saw that she’d have multiple installations in one place, I needed to see them! The first exhibition was in Washington D.C. and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to see it, but I had a few days before a major event at work and made plans to head East and view them. Unfortunately, the exhibit had moved by the time I wanted to go. Seattle was the next stop and so to Seattle  I planned to go for a short 3 day itinerary.

The artist’s name: Yayoi Kusama

You may think that it’s a bit crazy to travel for Art, but it’s one thing I have always been very serious about.

{I studied Art in College; I planned to be an Art teacher after falling in love with it back in High School. I completed my BFA with a minor in Fashion Merchandising after deciding that teaching just wasn’t for me. Long story short, Art is a passion of mine and I tend to visit museums almost anywhere I go.}

If you’ve never seen Yayoi Kusama’s work. You must! My best advice is to Google search her.

Kusama.JPG
Infinity Room- Love is Calling. Seen in Houston 2016

She’s a Japanese artist who has a repetitious use of polka-dots. Though she may seem a bit deranged and flamboyant in appearance, her work reflects a lifetime of visions and hallucinations. I urge you to read about her. She is quite fascinating!

I first noticed her work about 2 years ago when she was published as a permanent fixture at The Broad (Los Angeles) for her infinity room called:  “The Souls of a Million Light Years Away.” {you can see a photo of me in this exhibit above} This installation was my second one to view (when I visited The Broad on my previously mentioned adventure). My first view of her work was in my hometown of Houston:  “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity”

 

On my second day in Seattle, I booked a room at the Hyatt downtown. Knowing that I couldn’t purchase tickets in advance for this exhibition, I needed to get there early to wait in line. Time slots would be allotted to see the show, so it was pertinent to get there early! After my long day of travel and hiking yesterday (see: Blanca Lake), I was extremely tired and needed to start my day very early to drop off my rental vehicle and get to the Hyatt to drop of my luggage so I could walk down to the SAM (Seattle Art Museum). This put be behind schedule of being at the museum before opening at 10 AM.

I arrived to the SAM at 10:30 AM.

SAM

Luckily, I had a friend (Kaitlyn) whom I haven’t seen in about 5 years (visiting Seattle) also waiting in line for the show. As I was texting her to see what she had planned for her day so that we could meet up (since we were in the same city at the same time). She’d been waiting in line for about 30 minutes when I text her (not knowing that she was trying to see the art exhibit)! Kaitlyn, her girlfriend and another friend were kind enough to let me slide in line with them. The line had wrapped all the way down the hall. From where we were, it took 45 minutes to get to the ticket counter.

The first viewing was at 10:30 AM. Once we got to the counter the time slot had gotten to a 3:45 PM viewing. Thankfully we had a time and got tickets (since this was the entire reason for coming to Seattle). Showing up any later than 11:30 AM may not guarantee a time slot.

Since our time was several hours away, we skipped out of the museum in search of breakfast and coffee.

Our next stop was LOLA.

Lola Doughnuts

LOLA is a few minutes walk from the SAM. The restaurant is Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. As well they offer breakfast and brunch options. The menu is not super extensive. It is difficult to make a choice since everything seems like it would be delicious. I chose the cumin spiced lamb shawarma from the brunch menu. We also ordered the Made to order doughnuts for the table. These doughnuts are brought to the table in a small white paper bag with a serving of apricot jam and vanilla mascarpone served on the side of a plate. The waiter will shake the freshly made doughnuts in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar in the paper bag before pouring them onto your plate. They are served hot and are soft, like pillows of heavenly scrumptiousness. {Use caution when eating these because they are highly addictive and the vanilla mascarpone is the cherry on top!}

After our first round of donuts, we knew that a second round was completely necessary!

{If you decide to order the cumin shawarma, make sure to cover your lap with your napkin. Cumin will stain almost anything it touches, including your skin and clothing!}

View the Menu

sculture garden panorama

sculture garden head
There is nothing wrong with this photo. This sculpture is elongated.

After brunch we headed over to the sculpture garden- about a 15 minute walk from  LOLA.  One of the sculptures of a head is very trippy! We didn’t get to see the whole park due to time constraints, but dipped our feets in the water to cool off. It was a particularly hot day of 90 degrees. The Pacific is cold and refreshing! I cannot believe how clear and blue the water is up here. {and how rocky the shores are on the pacific coast, it always surprises me}

We then walked back towards the piers to catch an Uber back to the SAM so we could make our ticket time for the art exhibit.

Back at the SAM, we had to get in line again to wait for our time’s entry. We’d arrived about 3:30 for our 3:45 PM ticket time only to wait until nearly 4 PM to actually explore the exhibit. I ran off to use the restroom before they let us start entering and couldn’t cut the huge line when I got back to meet up with the girls again. So now I was on my own.

{I couldn’t find them anywhere and decided that I would probably see them in line for one of the rooms through the exhibit}

Kusama entrance

eye formsEntering Yayoi Kusama’s infinity room tour was like entering her world. It’s brightly colored walls (yellowish umber) splattered with polka dots. The first display consisted of a few 3D pieces of strange looking spikes with an almond shaped center as if it were shaped like an eye and a few spires with spikes protruding from them. They have a very organic appearance but also seems like it was melting or growing from the forms; all complete with her signature polka dots painted on them.

Kusama panorama

Behind these sculptures were large 36 X 36″ paintings of abstract forms along with stripes and polka dots.

Walking into the next room were 2 large white boxes. The gallery room is dark and there are several lines waiting to enter each box. There is the regular line for groups and then the “single rider” line. They allow singles to get in faster (so if you don’t mind being split up from your friends/family, hop in the singles line). Since I was now a “single rider” I got to see the rooms a little faster, but also with complete strangers! {which I don’t mind}

Love Forever exteriorWhen you enter each room, You will walk out on a narrow platform. Some rooms are filled with water and some are not. Do not step off the platform, you may damage the artwork. Once you are inside a member of the museum will close the mirrored door behind you. You will then be engulfed in the work. Some works will feature objects on the floor and some will be hanging from the ceiling. Some are light installations that flash (beware if you are subject to epileptic seizures). Not all rooms are walk in, some are viewed from the outside (looking in).

 

 

 

The following videos are my experiences inside these rooms. Enjoy.

 

I have removed sound from all videos to allow for you to experience the rooms in your own surroundings. Each room is 30-45 seconds of viewing time (per request of the artist).

Again, these are my experiences. Each interaction with them will vary.

 

 

 

There is only 1 room that is not featured (here):   “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” It is the only room in which the artist will not allow photography by the viewer. However, you may find some photos on Google where several people have taken photos inside this room. Because I respect the vision of the artist, I have kindly taken in this room without photography. Please feel free to Google the room if you’d like to see it.

There are 6 rooms total.  In addition to the rooms are a few extra works available to view:

 

This video is inside of a large pink orb and is available for anyone to view. There is not a line to view this.

tenticles 2While waiting to see “All the Enternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” you will notice some tentacle like objects protruding from a platform. They are large black arms decorated with yellow polka dots and are very eye catching!

Additional paintings near the end of the exhibit are similar to those at the entrance: 36 x 36″ paintings of abstractions, repetitious lines and dots.

Dots Obsession panorama

“Dots Obsession-Love Transformed into Dots” is a room inside of a room experience. Large pink & black polka dot (beach ball like) spheres of all sizes are spread about the room. Some are sitting on the floor and some hanging from the ceiling; the mirrored room to enter is covered by one of those beach ball spheres.

Nicole Obliteration Room

 

Before entering “The Obliteration Room,” you’ll be given a small sticker page filled with 6-8 colored polka dot stickers. They are part of the installation and not to be removed from the room. You will be able to place your dots anywhere in the room, on anything in the room. It’s a quite interesting transformation of the room-from white (every item in the room is white) to covered completely by these dots. They begin to consume the space, but only to a certain point… you will see people jumping to place their stickers higher than others and then some stuck on top of others, layering and layering until the exhibit is over. This room has no time limit.

Obliteration Room panorama 1

 

What I found most interesting about this room was not the room itself, but the interactions within the room. If you look at the photo above (and main post photo), there is almost a strange story in each section. I took panoramas of the room to capture this moment. There is a very “domestic” feel and yet a feeling of isolation.

At the end of the exhibit is a video of Yayoi, explaining her work and visions. There’s seating to watch the 7-10 minute video in a bright red room. Subtitles are provided since she speaks fluent Japanese. Her emotionless face is somewhat uncomfortable to watch but to understand her life, past and illness gives great insight to her work, who she is and why she appears to be so monotoned.

{I never did find the girls in the exhibit, but I was glad to run into Kaityln anyway!}

The gift shop is conveniently at the end of the exhibit. There are several items to buy, though I did not find any pumpkins (wishing I had), I did purchase a t-shirt for myself and my mom. I also grabbed a button to put on my denim jacket. There are cultural pieces, jewelry, books and more available.

I walked around the SAM for a few minutes to see what other works they had, but my lack of sleep was hitting me hard!  I walked back to the Hyatt to take a small nap.

I dragged myself back out after a nap to get food even though all I wanted to do was order room service and call it a day.

Evening at Pike Place

I walked down to Pike’s Place around 7 PM.

Note to visitors: the market is closed at 7 PM!

Either way, it was a fantastic time to get a few of those awesome tourist-y photos of the market sign!

I’d seen a cute Map shop on the way to the museum earlier in the day. I spent about an hour in this little shop. They have maps galore! any kind you can think of and globes of all sizes. It was rather challenging to pick one! One globe ornament and a few Seattle prints I was ready to finally leave the map store.

Seatown

 

I could not figure out what I wanted to eat, nor was I really that hungry but I figured I was in the presence of delicious fish. I stopped at a cute little “seabar” called Seatown. After going over the menu for about half an hour I decided on a crab cake to start with and then followed it with a piece of salmon. {i devoured it! sorry no photo}

 

Crabcake at Seatown
delicious crab cake!

There I was, finished stuffing my face and I had one more stop before the day was done. I was hoping there wouldn’t be a line! Down the street a block or so is the original Starbucks. Being a coffee lover and fan of Starbucks, this was a necessary stop. With a very small line, I was able to walk in and grab myself a tall latte with one splenda in under 15 mintues. 15 minutes! I can hear you squaking…Yes, unfortunately the people in front of me were so disorganized and wanted to buy 30 Starbucks cups and glasses that it held up the line. I grabbed my Pike’s Place Starbucks mug before getting in line!

With a latte in my hand, it was time to call it a day. I walked my butt back to the Hyatt and took a bath in the cutest hotel bathroom I’ve ever seen. After my bubble bath, I threw on my hotel robe and ordered myself 1 banana and some ice cream from room service. It was a perfect ending to my long day!

Stay tuned for Day 3 of my adventures in Seattle

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