Chaos has broken out in front of David Zwirner gallery on West 19th Street, where people have been lining up to see Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrored Room — The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away,” part of her exhibition that closes tomorrow, since 7 o’clock this morning. A long line has turned into a mob scene, and police have showed up to impose order.
Art writer Dylan Schenker has been tweeting from the scene, where he arrived around 8:30 this morning to the sight of a line stretching nearly around the block. “Honestly it started out self-organized in the morning. Around 8:30ish when I got here it was a normal line,” he wrote to Hyperallergic.
That line soon grew to two lines, one stretching out from either side of the gallery entrance, until “the people who worked at the gallery smooshed all the snaked people in the street into a giant mass,” Schenker said. From there the lines devolved into a crushing mob.
Schenker reports that both police and “some kind of fire department truck” are on the scene.
There have been hours-long lines to see the infinity room, the experience of which lasts only 45 seconds, for weeks now. And although the exhibition closes tomorrow, Zwirner decided to delay its opening by an hour today, from 10 to 11 am. We contacted the gallery about the crowds and the wait time but were told that no one was available to comment.
At around 11:30, Schenker said a man appeared to announce the line order. Apparently, the gallery is attempting to give priority to those who arrived at 7 am, but other members of the crowd are screaming and yelling that the people are lying so they can get in first. One man in a green hat arrived at 10:30 and cut the line, leading to chants of “no green hat!” We asked Schenker how many people he thinks are there, and he wrote, “Thousand? God, I don’t know, I can’t tell.”
“They seem so ill-prepared,” he added. “They should have been out here sooner setting up barricades. It’s shocking this kind of thing can generate this much fervor. I heard one person say that cronut lines were much more civil.”
Update, 12:29pm EST: Schenker is in the door and writes to say, “the man who brought us in made us hold hands so no one would cut.”