A dark and cool room full of falling rain would be the best way to describe the Rain Room Exhibit at the MoMA in New York City. It’s the newest exhibition and over the past few weeks it has brought in crowds with wait times lasting four to five hours or more.
The Rain Room exhibit was first installed at The Barbican in London by the artists rAndom INTERNATIONAL. After its installment there, it was moved to New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and will remain there until the twenty-eighth of July. For further explanation on the artists’ vision, you can read about it and watch a video here.
With my Uncle Kevin in from California, and summer vacation at its very beginning, we decided to head into the exhibit on Monday morning, along with my Mom and my brother, Thomas. Since Thomas is a member of the MoMA, we were allowed early entry between 9:30 and 10:30, but that didn’t mean we were excused from the wait. Only a small number of people are allowed in the exhibit at a time, and there is no time limit for how long you can be inside.
This means that long lines and long waits are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. Luckily, the MoMA is prepared for such waits.
Monday morning was hot, and while we were dressed for the weather and had water bottles in tow, we weren’t exactly prepared for the sun. The staff handed out umbrellas to anyone who wasn’t in the shade. It was still hot, even at ten in the morning, but we were grateful for the umbrellas, and they did their job.
There’s also a small cart for drinks and snacks, which definitely came in handy after about an hour’s wait when we all needed a bit of caffeine. Then we stood in line, chatting with our line neighbors and catching up with each other. In a little over an hour and a half’s time, we made our way inside the building. The cool air and sound of rain was immediately soothing after standing in the heat.
Also immediately hitting us was the sense of magic within the Rain Room, and it was hard not to let out a, “wow,” upon first viewing the rain area. Anxiously, we waited for our turn under the rain, though just viewing the Rain Room itself was pretty unbelievable. The light on the opposite end of the wall casted shadows all around us and made those who were in the exhibit appear to be shadows themselves.
It’s amazing to watch, and there is the option to only view the room, with a much shorter line, but experiencing it really was worth the time on line. So much so, that I would consider doing it again before the Rain Room exhibit is over.
Finally, we were given the chance to go under the rain. I put my bag to the side just in case I got wet, and there is a chance it will happen. Sometimes the sensors did not entirely sense that I was there, so I felt a small droplet or two, still it was nothing that tainted the experience.
With some hesitation at first, I entered into the curtain of water, half expecting to get wet, but I didn’t. Instead it engulfed me within it, and I became a part of the exhibit. The magic I felt upon arriving in the room grew even greater as I was surrounded by the rain.
To be surrounded by rain, but not actually have it pouring down on me was a surreal experience, one that is almost hard to describe. The Rain Room produces the feeling of being caught in a rainstorm with a permanent umbrella from the heavens; it’s quite extraordinary.
We stayed longer than I expected to stay, walking through, experiencing it fully, and taking plenty of photos. The way the photos came out were my favorite; because of the light, bodies appeared to be silhouettes standing alongside the rain without getting wet. More magic.
If you are in New York City before the end of the exhibit, you must find time to give the Rain Room a chance, even if waiting in line is not for you. I can promise that you won’t regret it. How could you when it is the one time that you can experience the rain without getting wet?
What to know:
– The exhibit is only in New York City until July 28, 2013
– The entrance is located on West 54 Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
– Members and their guest have priority access between the hours of 9:30-10:30
– Arrive early and prepare to wait
– Be prepared for the weather – extra layers, an umbrella, bottles of water, etc.