Rain is finally coming to Los Angeles -- unfortunately, not the kind of showers that would reverse the area’s historic drought. “Rain Room,” an elaborate art installation that allows visitors to walk through a simulated downpour, is arriving at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in November.
A popular draw when it was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Barbican Centre in London, “Rain Room” is scheduled to open at LACMA on Nov. 1 on the ground floor of the Broad Contemporary building. The piece is set to be there through March 6.
The artwork, which is about 2,500 square feet, features sensors that allow people to walk through falling water without getting wet. A museum spokeswoman said that 20 to 22 people will be allowed into the gallery space for each quarter-hour session. Five to seven people may move under the rain at one time.
Timed tickets will be required for visitors to experience “Rain Room.” Tickets will be $10 for members and visitors 17 and younger, with a general admission ticket. All other visitors will be required to purchase a $15 upgrade to any general admission or specially ticketed exhibition admission.
“Rain Room” was created by the London-based art collective known as Random International. “The work was created to heighten awareness of people’s own presence in space,” the group said via email. “‘Rain Room’ physically represents personal space and casts a light on the different behaviours this space elicits.”
The first edition of “Rain Room” was commissioned and acquired by RH Contemporary Art, a division of RH Restoration Hardware. LACMA’s exhibition is being co-presented by the home furnishings company.
At MoMA, “Rain Room” drew 74,222 visitors during 11 weeks for an impressive average of about 1,000 visitors a day. Reports at the time said that some visitors waited hours in line to experience the artwork. The New York museum showed the installation in 2013 as part of MoMA PS1’s exhibition “EXPO 1: New York.”
To some, an installation simulating a near-continuous downpour may not seem an ideal curatorial choice at a time when California residents are being asked to conserve water due to the drought.
But a museum spokeswoman said that the installation recycles its water through a closed-loop system with minimal evaporation and replenishment, and that the water is filtered as it circulates. She said that the water comes from the museum’s clean water supply and that the tank holds about 330 gallons.
Michael Govan, LACMA’s chief executive and director, said in a prepared statement that “Rain Room” is “a wondrous experience, achieved in an environmentally sensitive manner.” He also said the installation is ideal for the museum as it re-initiates aspects of its Art and Technology project, which is approaching its 50th anniversary.
“Rain Room” is the first exhibition to be presented under the Hyundai Project partnership, a multiyear deal with the Korean automaker.
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