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Museumgoer Breaks a Kusama Pumpkin, Allegedly in Pursuit of a Selfie [UPDATED]

According to museum visitors, someone attempting to take a selfie in Yayoi Kusama’s newest mirror room fell into the gleaming patch of pumpkin sculptures and broke one of them.

Yayoi Kusama, “Infinity Mirrored Room — All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” (2016) (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

We’re less than a week into the selfie wonderland that is Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition Infinity Mirrors at the Hirshhorn Museum, and the inevitable has already happened. Over the weekend, according to visitors, someone attempting to take a selfie in the artist’s newest mirror room, “Infinity Mirrored Room — All the Eternal Love I have for the Pumpkins” (2016),” fell into the gleaming patch of pumpkin sculptures and broke one of the spotted glass works.

Yayoi Kusama, “Infinity Mirrored Room — All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” (2016)

Museum spokesperson Allison Peck confirmed the incident in an email, telling Hyperallergic that “a piece … sustained minor damage and the room was closed temporarily.” The Hirshhorn’s experts have since evaluated the work, and the room remains off limits, although it will reopen shortly. In the meantime, we suggest the museum just loop the Smashing Pumpkins’ 1995 album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

“We take great care of our artwork, and also place a great deal of trust in our visitors, providing clear instructions at the entry for each room,” Peck wrote. “When the room reopens, it will have increased security and visitor services staff.”

Like all of Kusama’s mirror rooms, this yellow and black one is designed to hold just one to three visitors at a time, who may hang out inside up to a mere 30 seconds. It features just a narrow walkway as well as low, transparent barriers, which, in this unfortunate instance, perhaps did more harm than help. The installation’s closure brings the number of mirror rooms in the exhibition down to five now — which is still plenty to photograph and get you all the Instagram likes you need.

Yayoi Kusama, “Infinity Mirrored Room — All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” (2016)

Update, 2/28: The New York Times reported that the installation reopened today and that Kusama is arranging for a replacement pumpkin to arrive in a few weeks.

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