LOVE IS CALLING

I have a confession to make: I wasn’t even going to write about LOVE IS CALLING. Firstly because, like, too easy, yanno. What a cop out.
But also because I am too close to the heart of it: I cannot be unbiased when I have been elbows deep in Yayoi’s story. I know too much, I think.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Instagrammable: Oh yes. Take all the pictures you want (don’t forget to use the hashtag #TMALove in social media!)

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Part of my job requires me to be inside the room a little bit more often than the regular museum goer, and yet I find myself deeply moved, still, every time: there is always something new to discover, something else I had not seen the last time there. I think this exhibition is one that gets better the more you see it, as you peel back its layers and attempt to get to the center of it.

But you can’t. The beauty of it is that while you’re inside, you feel like you are part of a greater whole. Your being is reflected over and over and over again, everywhere and nowhere all at once, and for two minutes, you are infinite, standing before an alien world of colorful tentacles.

The voice you hear is the artist’s, reciting a poem in Japanese. You can see the translation on the wall as soon as you exit the room. I urge you to read the poem, to really take the time to understand it, as it changes the context of the exhibition completely. Well, at least, it did for me.

Now I cannot enter the room without feeling rattled, jittery; both claustrophobic and distant. I want to stay in that little alien world but also run to the relatively safety of the outside world. I am inside Yayoi Kusama’s mind and it is too much and not enough and, honestly, she is a formidable artist; she has to, when her mind is filled with such things.

See? I’m too close to this exhibition; I can’t even properly write about it.  

Anyway, here are the fun, practical facts:

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  • Best to come during a weekday, as the galleries are basically empty, and depending on how many people are in line you may be able to go in more than once

  • If you are coming over the weekend, plan to buy your tickets far in advance, I’d say at least a week. They are selling out fast! You can arrive to the museum 30 minutes before and enjoy the remaining galleries while you wait, or have a cup of coffee downstairs at the Riverwalk Cafe (their cookies are TO DIE FOR)

  • College students get in for free; children, seniors (65+ years), and Florida educators get in at a discounted price

  • The installation employs sound and lights. Though the light changes are rather slow, it may still be overwhelming for some who may be sensitive to lights and sounds. A staff member will be with you in the room at all times in case of emergencies.

  • Best selfies and photo ops are at the corners of the room.

  • Fun fact: One of the staff members who works the room has the same bright red bob hairstyle Yayoi Kusama is known for. It has led many an elementary school kid to gape while not so subtly whispering, “THAT’S YAYOI KUSAMA!”