If you’ve ventured over to the High Line this month, or braved the crowds to check out the new Whitney Museum recently, you may have encountered people headed east, mysteriously covered in colored polka dots of different sizes. An installation by acclaimed (and wildly popular) octogenarian Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama on view at the David Zwirner gallery in Chelsea is the reason why, and we’re here to tell you: hurry up and take the kids before it’s gone!

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photo: David Zwirner Gallery

What’s Up Dot? 

Part of a larger show entitled “Give Me Love,” the piece responsible for the Technicolor stickers is titled, “Obliteration Room,” and this show marks its debut in the U.S. (Agreed, it’s not the most-uplifting name; we leave it to you to get into it with the kids or not.)

Originally conceived in 2002, this iteration of the piece resembles, from the outside, a pre-fab suburban American house (complete with plastic lawn chairs and the star and stripes flying outside.) Inside, however, is a different story. When the show opened, the interior of the house — including all furniture, appliances, fruit and decorative coral specimens — was painted entirely white. It did not, however, remain that way for very long, as the key element of the piece is for visitors to “decorate” the white-washed surfaces with stickers of all different colors and sizes. (Each guest is given a sheet as they cross the threshold.)

So essentially, it’s a chance for you and the kids to go stick stickers all over a cool, weird house — and if you so choose, get into a discussion about contemporary art.  Whatever your agenda, what’s not to love?

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photo: David Zwirner Gallery

Is That It?

In the house, yes. However an attached gallery also features some very fun, and equally trippy, oversized, polka-dotted and perforated pumpkins in more bright colors and chrome. They’re worth a look, but be forewarned: they beg to be touched but are off-limits, so keep little hands in check. (The exhibit also includes some colorful abstract large-scale paintings, but those are less likely to wow the kids.) If you’re hungry for more, entirely different art you can check out Richard Serra’s “Equal” at Zwirner’s 20th Street gallery, or go for the gusto by visiting the Whitney. (Read our guide to the new museum here.)

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photo: David Zwirner Gallery

When to Go

The short answer: soon! (The show closes on June 13.) Ideally, a weekday is when to visit if you want to avoid crowds and a wait.; lines are shortest at the beginning of the day. (When we stopped by on a recent Saturday afternoon, the line was down the block and the wait was about 45 minutes to an hour.)

Yayoi Kusama “Give Me Love”
Free
May 9-June 13
Tuesday-Saturdays
10 a.m. — 6 p.m.
David Zwirner Gallery
519 & 525 W. 19th St.
Chelsea
212-727-2070
Online: davidzwirner.com

Will you be going to “Give Me Love?” Tell us in the comments below!

—Mimi O’Connor