Valuable Sculpture Damaged at D.C. Museum, Possibly by Selfie-taker

Part of an exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. was damaged and closed last weekend, according to an article by the New York Times. A pumpkin sculpture in one of the exhibit’s interactive rooms was broken, allegedly by a patron who was trying to take a selfie.

The exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors,” is a series of six interactive, mirrored rooms with sculptures. “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” was the name of the room where the pumpkin was broken. The room was temporarily shut down after the incident, but it was reopened on Tuesday after the remaining pumpkins were rearranged.

It was reported by many news sources that the pumpkin was damaged while someone was trying to take a selfie in the room, but no one is sure whether that was the case. A spokeswoman for the museum told the New York Times that the visitor who damaged the pumpkin “took an accidental misstep” that resulted in the damage.

The sculpture was originally reported to be worth about $800,000, though that was an estimate based on the sale of a sculpture by the artist that was made with different materials. Thankfully, this pumpkin was made of plastic and was not as valuable as originally estimated by the media. According to the New York Times, the artist is sending the museum a replacement for the broken sculpture. Because the museum determined that the visitor broke the pumpkin completely by accident, there was no arrest.

The exhibit has been incredibly popular, drawing in more than 8,000 visitors in the first several days after it opened.

You can get a 360° view of the room that was closed in this video posted by the Victoria Miro Gallery:

Linked in this Post

New York Times Article

Hirshhorn Museum “Infinity Mirrors” Page

Virtual 360° View of “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins”

Featured image credit: Victoria Miro Gallery

About the Author: Mara Blackwood

Mara Blackwood is the executive editor of RedDotBlog


  1. A few years ago I was at MOMA in NY and nearly everyone was busy taking photos of the art with their phones. I actually had people ask me to step aside as I was viewing a piece so they could take a picture. It was infuriating. I spoke with a guard & asked if this was the norm and she replied that someone had knocked over & broken a sculpture the previous week while taking a photo.

    I vowed to never return until this absurd activity has been stopped. I told some of the photo-takers to visit the bookstore for postcard and books. Morons without respect using their phones instead of their eyes and brains!

  2. When I was in an art museum in Spain I was taking photos of each of the paintings I loved the most along with the information tag and QR code to take a closer look on the internet when I was home again. I was able to scan the photo of the code off my laptop at home with my QR reader (on my phone) and was taken to more information about the artists and history beyond what the gallery could give me. I spent hours upon hours in the gallery absorbing the art in person and then was able to follow up at home. Maybe it is not quite the same as the article, but a smart phone can be an amazing tool none the less.

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