“Are the people queuing junkies for art and Yayoi, or just desperate for something to stick on their Instagram?”
The question that artist Jon Burgerman asks, regarding the ongoing Yayoi Kusama exhibition at David Zwirner’s 19th Street gallery, is one that undoubtedly pops into people’s minds whenever the Japanese artist has a show of her Infinity Mirror Rooms. Standing in line — often for hours and, at times, in the cold — has become an expected part of viewing Kusama’s mirror installations, which are intended for one or two people at a time to spend about 30 seconds inside. Instagram has, without question, fed the frenzy.
So can the public’s desire for a shiny ‘gram be more conveniently fulfilled by a cardboard box adorned with just the right wrapping paper? About a week ago, Burgerman showed up outside David Zwirner with exactly that: his “Infinity Box,” a mini Kusama-inspired installation, or a box whose interior he wrapped with glittery paper, complete with a cutout hole for viewers. He paced the line outside the gallery and asked if anyone wanted to have a free and immediate peep inside.
“I wanted to offer people the option of getting a quick selfie with my cardboard box version, to save them a few hours in the queue,” Burgerman told Hyperallergic. “I thought maybe if you’re just queuing for a cool selfie the box might suffice as an alternative.”
Some people ignored the stunt while others looked in, but everyone still wanted the real, immersive thing. Burgerman himself eventually went into the gallery, where some staff members asked him to leave the box at the desk for undisclosed reasons, but he eventually got it back. He plans to return to David Zwirner’s sidewalk a few more times before the exhibition ends on December 16, to continue
trolling entertaining the individuals on line.
“Perhaps the wait is integral to the experience now,” Burgerman said. “That might not have been Kusama’s intention. But like the cronut, rainbow bagel, and countless other things, there is pleasure in the delayed satisfaction.”