usama - Photo by IttyBittyFoodies.com

What families should know about the Kusama exhibit


Yayoi Kusama Exhibit with Kids - Photo by IttyBittyFoodies.com

Yayoi Kusama exhibit with Kids – Photo by IttyBittyFoodies.com

Fall for the Yayoi Kusama exhibit this season at the Dallas Museum of Art. “All the Eternal Love I have for the Pumpkins” is one of Kusama’s signature infinity mirrored rooms traveling around the country that elicits pure joy. I wasn’t going to write about the Kusama exhibit since it’s been a month since it opened. However, I’ve read so many comments from people feeling disappointed and angry over it that I feel I needed to help manage expectations. The holidays are coming and this is a wonderful opportunity to introduce kids to this avant-garde “Queen of Polka Dots”. The Kusama exhibit runs through February 25, 2018. The IttyBittyFoodies loved it but here’s a few things you should know before you visit the Kusama exhibit.


I’m starting with this point because I think it’s the biggest shock to most. Museum goers are invited to view the Kusama exhibit for only 45 seconds. Yes. FORTY FIVE SECONDS. Is it enough time? For people like me who photographs everything, I would have liked 1 minute and half to shoot some video and take shots of the pumpkins in different angles before settling to enjoy the exhibit. But that’s not the point of the exhibit. More on that later because you don’t realize how powerful the experience is until you enter. Most people would feel 45 seconds works fine to snap a selfie and simply immerse in pure pumpkin love.


Let’s deal with the second gripe. Tickets for all special exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art are $16 for an adult (with discounts for seniors, students and military). Children 11 years and under are free. I’m hearing lots of complaints that people feel ‘ripped off’ because the exhibit is only 45 seconds long. But lets all take a step back to a time when the Dallas Museum of Art charged for general admission AND a fee for special exhibits. The museum now gives free access to general exhibits 365 days of the year so paying a fee for a special exhibit is fair in my opinion. Unfortunately, this particular exhibit takes less than a minute to view but I was happy to pay it. And if it makes you feel better, bring a child under 11 years old and pretend that the tickets were $8 per person.


When I first heard about the Kusama exhibit, I had fantasies of taking a family selfie among the pumpkins. However, that thought was quickly quashed by the fact that only two people can go in at the same time. The Kusama exhibit is housed inside a mirrored room measuring 13 square feet that you have to share with 60 bulbous acrylic pumpkins. If you are claustrophobic, this is probably not the place for you. From the outside, it looks like a white storage box. The experience reminds me a little of going into a mirrored elevator with my kids when we like to make funny faces looking at our infinity reflections. The door opens and you step onto a small platform that fits only two people and a museum attendant. Given the restrictive space, your child has to understand that there’s no running, jumping, crouching or touching the pumpkins once inside. You’re only allowed to bring one child at a time. If you have a second child, you’ll have to purchase a second ticket to go in with them.

Kusama Exhibit selfie - photo by IttyBittyFoodies

Kusama Exhibit selfie – photo by IttyBittyFoodies


Are you still with me? If none of the above deters you, it’s time to buy tickets. Tickets can be purchased online for a specific time slot. Given the popularity of the Kusama exhibit, it’s a great way to manage traffic so that everyone gets a fair go. If you decide to do a walk in without pre-purchasing tickets, you’ll be taking a chance on not seeing the exhibit at all if all time slots are filled. Note that if you miss your time slot, there are no refunds.


The short answer is pretty much nothing. Yes, more rules. All bags have to be checked into a locker before entering the exhibit. You can take your phone or a small camera. I had both but was told to choose only one to take in. That upset me a bit but in hindsight, it was probably for the best. Given the 45 second time limit, I wouldn’t have had time to see the exhibit if I was preoccupied with photo taking the whole time, which  brings me to the my last point.


Instead of doing so much. How about not doing anything at all? Just be still and let the magic overcome your senses. Inside, the air is warm with a faint scent of wood. You can’t help but gasp a little when you see all the polka dotted pumpkins softly glowing orange around you in the dark. If you watch the fifteen second video of my four year old inside this exhibit you can hear him counting all the pumpkins. He was so taken by the moment. There’s so many pumpkins, it’s almost disorienting. Look up, look down and look all around. It’s trippy and meditative at the same time. And for that one moment, or forty-five seconds, you get a glimpse of the fascinating mind of Yayoi Kusama.


After seeing the Kusama exhibit, I began researching Yayoi Kusama. I found some ‘gourd-geous’ comprehensive Kusama art books for deeper reading like the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors which explores her iconic infinity mirrored rooms. My children’s favorite would be this illustrated Alice Adventures with Artwork by Yayoi Kusama . They are perfect for holiday gifting!

But here’s a few bits of information I found fascinating about Yayoi Kusama.

  1. When Kusama was ten years old, she experienced hallucinations of flashes of light and fields of dots. The obsession with spots is her signature.
  2. She moved to New York in 1957 and became a fixture in the avant-garde art world in the early 1960s along side with contemporaries like Joseph Cornell, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol.
  3. She voluntarily lives in a psychiatric hospital in Japan for the last 40 years
  4. She still creates art from a studio near the hospital
  5. In 2017, Yayoi Kusama Museum opened in Tokyo and to no one’s surprise, the tickets are timed.

We hope this post has been helpful. Please share it with your friends! If you’ve been to the Kusama exhibit, please tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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