The last batch of tickets available on July 15 sold out in minutes.
Montreal's Yayoi Kusama exhibit is so popular that the most recent ticket release sold out within minutes. Around 10,000 people applied on July 15, but only half of them received tickets through the box office system and call centre. The PHI Foundation hosting the exhibit is now adapting its ticketing strategy, and even introducing allocated times that don't require reserving tickets at all to help more people see Kusama's works, especially her Infinity Mirrored Rooms.
"We have applied a reasonable increase to the number of people who can go through the exhibit per hour," Cheryl Sim, the curator and managing director at the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art, told MTL Blog.
"We put an emphasis on a quality experience for visitors which means we want to avoid overloading the gallery spaces so people can really commune with the works and not jostle for a good view."
The Foundation is releasing a new batch of tickets at noon on the 15th of every month through December. Starting in August, visitors can also see the exhibit without reservations on Sundays between 11 a.m. and noon.
"This is a bit of an experiment and there may be line-ups as capacity is limited, but we hope it will get more people in to enjoy Kusama," said Sim.
With some visitors having to wait around half hour to step into the artist's famed infinity rooms for a moment, the Foundation is also looking at ways to expand viewings beyond regular gallery hours. The frequency of one-hour guided tours to groups between 10 and 15 people that usually occur after the museum has closed to the public could increase in the coming months.
Meanwhile, Sim said the PHI was aware from other museums that line-ups would occur for the Infinity Mirrored Rooms but she insists the 45-second viewing time in each room is well worth the wait.
Another option to see some of Kusama's work is the 'Pathways 3: Horizons VR' ticket available through phi.ca. You can buy that for $34.50+ to see two exhibitions at the PHI Centre and have access to Kusama's infinity rooms but not the rest of her solo exhibit.
The full Yayoi Kusama exhibit features mini peer-in rooms, along with sculptures and paintings by the 93-year-old artist. It will remain free of charge (only reservations are required to guarantee entry) through January 15, 2023.
"This is the first time Kusama has presented a major exhibition in Quebec and currently if anyone [outside the province] wanted to see her work right now, they would have to get on an airplane!" said Sim.