If you haven’t gotten your fill of spring showers, head over to the Rain Room at the MoMA, a magical place where you can walk through a rainstorm without getting wet. Picture a pitch black room with a singular bright light source illuminating millions of drops of water falling from the ceiling into the grates below your feet. The collective sound of those drops is surprisingly loud, masking your own footsteps, making you feel disconcertingly invisible. But it doesn’t compare to how otherworldly it seems to calmly walk through the spigots of water only to have them cease above your head, to be surrounded by the rainfall literally in all directions.
The Rain Room is the brainchild of design studio rAndom International, who first debuted the installation last October at the Barbican in London. The British unsurprisingly glommed onto the spectacle of indoor rain, with queues reaching a record-setting twelve hours in length by the time the exhibit ended in March. Just a few weeks into our run across the pond, lines are already approaching serious commitment levels—anywhere from 2.5-6 hours on weekends. Museum members have priority access and a special members-only hour from 9:30AM – 10:30AM, but even they are looking at multiple hour waits. Regular visitors should add an additional two hours. Reason for the outrageous wait time? The exhibit admits anywhere from 8-10 individuals at once with no maximum stay length. Most people leave in under 15 minutes, but you can see how this can easily add up.
Pro tip #1: follow the MoMA on Twitter (@MuseumModernArt) for the most updated wait time estimates; don’t bother trying to call the switchboard.
Pro tip #2: Check out the the live stream photographs of the Rain Room at MoMAPS1.org/expo1.
Pro tip #3: If you get there and give up on the line, we highly recommend hopping on the E train for a quick 12-minute subway ride to the MoMA PS1 across the river. Even though the Rain Room is housed at the MoMA—or, more accurately, a lot next to the MoMA—it is part of the PS1’s well-curated Expo 1: New York, which ambitiously includes a school, cinema, colony, pool, and much more, all tied together under a common environmental theme.
Or, pack a book and a lunch and wait in the midtown line. Either way, it’s shaping up to be a great summer for contemporary art in NYC.
The Rain Room runs from May 12 to July 28.
Get in touch with the author @plainjanehu.