In 2015, when the billionaire philanthropist and art collector Eli Broad opened the Broad, one of Los Angeles's most beautiful and star-studded museums, he did two things to make a wealthy tycoon's art accessible to the people: He made the museum's admission free, and he used an awful pun—"we wanted to share it with the broadest possible public"—to explain why.
Broad was, however, chiefly referring to the museum's permanent collection, which may be stunning but does not include the institution's visiting exhibitions, which come at a price; its wildly popular Cindy Sherman show last year, for example, cost $12. This year, however, the Broad has more than doubled that admission to $25 for what's no doubt set to be its most popular exhibition as it welcomes "Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors" from the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. (where, for the record, there was no entrance fee, as the Hirshhorn is part of the Smithsonian museum system).
After the exhibition broke attendance records at the Hirshhorn, the Broad's staff decided to drop all of its tickets for the show, which runs from October 21 through January 1, 2018, at once, on last Friday at noon PST.
That strategy didn't work out so well, as LA Weekly details in one writer's account of the "harrowing experience" that was her quest to get a ticket. Her journey begins two hours ahead of the drop, in a digital "waiting room" where she soon discovered 100,000 others also in line.
These 100,000 were all waiting for a chance to obtain only 50,000 advance tickets—and each buyer could purchase six tickets each, a math problem exacerbated by the fact that the Los Angeles Times tweeted out a false link that temporarily messed up the whole system and put things on hold.
By the time it went back online—at 1:17 p.m.—there were 8,000 tickets left; by 1:26 p.m., the show had sold out its full run, which lasts until January 1, 2018. (There are currently two tickets available for $95 for this Thursday at 4:45 p.m. for sale on Craigslist, but given that the tickets aren't transferrable, you also have to meet up with the Craigslister and have them let you in—and make it past the Broad's Visitor Services team, which strictly enforces its policy against ticket reselling.)
Those lucky enough to come by a ticket can stay inside the exhibition as long as they'd like—conveniently enough, as they've been told to expect to wait 15 minutes before going inside each of Kusama's six Infinity Mirror Rooms (only two people are allowed at a time, for a whopping total of 30 seconds each). There are, of course, other works to distract yourself with until you get that coveted mirror selfie, including paintings, polka dots, pumpkins, and more sculptures from the artist stretching back to the '50s.
For the majority of those who didn't nab a ticket, though, there is a glimmer of hope: If you get into the Broad in general and there's somehow a bit of Kusama capacity, you can purchase on-site tickets "pending availability," as the museum assures in the exhibition's extremely lengthy FAQ section.
Conversely, if you move fast, you could also catch the exhibition now at the Seattle Art Museum, where tickets are now currently available on a day-of basis. Unfortunately, though, since it's now in its final week, even those tickets are getting hard to come by, which is why the only option, really, is to approach it like Ciara, and shut down the entire museum for a night to celebrate your first anniversary with only your husband, Russell Wilson—and, of course, somebody to take Instagrams of the pair of you.
Go Behind the Polka-Dot Scenes of Yayoi Kusama's Glass House Takeover: