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Five Creative Ways to Kill Time While You Wait in Line for Kusama

A view of “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors”
“Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” installation view

If you’re going to the “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” exhibit as it travels North America, there’s one thing you should be prepared for: lines.

At the Hirshhorn Museum, same-day tickets necessitate two to three hours in line. And even if you score some advance tickets online, you’ll still have to queue inside the exhibit to get into the titular infinity mirror rooms.

So on a recent trip to the exhibit, phone battery quickly draining, it’s no wonder we found ourselves wishing for some creative ways to kill time in line. Here are our ideas — next time, you can come prepared!

1. Read Kusama’s autobiography

  • What you’ll need: Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama

The book club here at The Art League read this book a while back, and there’s one word to describe it: wild. Kusama has led an interesting life and met equally interesting people, and her book will fill in many of the gaps left by the wall text.

Tip: If you’re already in line at the Hirshhorn, you can still pick up a copy! It’s for sale in the gift shop, which you can reach in the basement of the building after it opens at 10:00 am.

2. Play “Fake Artist”

  • What you’ll need: 4 to 10 markers/pencils in different colors; paper; hard surface

Are your neighbors in line bored too? Enlist them in a game of “A Fake Artist Goes to New York,” a game of drawing and social deduction. You can read the official rules in this PDF, but feel free to make the game your own. Basically, all the artists but one know what they’re drawing, and the Fake Artist tries to pretend that they know too!

As you would expect, it leads to some pretty abstract and bizarre collaborations, as the real artists try their best to keep the Fake Artist in the dark. You can buy the game online (it comes in a small box), or create your own from materials you have on hand.

3. Sketch the crowds

  • What you’ll need: a sketchbook and pencil or pen

Crowds are a great opportunity to do some impromptu sketching. Draw the faces and poses around you, and try to capture the sense of anticipation/exasperation! At the Hirshhorn, there are plenty of outdoor sculptures to sketch as well.

4. Try an artful app

  • What you’ll need: a smartphone or tablet, lots of battery

We can recommend any of the seven apps on this list as good ways to kill time creatively. Be sure to watch your battery power, since you’ll want your camera for the exhibit!

5. Put on a performance

  • What you’ll need: someone to hold your spot in line

To really get in the spirit of things, why not create some performance art? Perform on your own, or enlist collaborators to pose and direct. (Find some ideas in this blog post.) Yes, this one will take some guts, but as Matisse said: “Creativity takes courage.”

You’ll see documents from some of Kusama’s own performances once you get inside the exhibit, and you can compare your “happening” to hers.

More creative ways to kill time

How do you use your time productively while waiting in line? Do you have any apps or games to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

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