FOMO at the NewMuseum

This weekend, I went to see the New Museum’s exhibition Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest. Friends had warned me about the line, but I decided to take a chance anyway since the exhibit was ending on January 15, 2017. It had been an Instagram showstopper with a room filled with 3,000 handmade crystal-looking lights hanging from the ceiling, each containing a single pixel from one of Rist’s videos.

Photo credit: Jaimee Roberts
The Pixel Forest looked like it was definitely worth seeing, but when I got to the museum there was a line of people around the block waiting in the snow. Only in New York, right? I was thinking this has to be a damn good exhibit for people to be standing in a slow-moving line in the freezing cold (20 degrees) while it was snowing. Luckily, my friends and I didn’t have to. ALERT! ALERT! By buying your tickets online, you can go straight to the door and skip the line.

Once inside, it was amazing. My favorite part of exhibit was not just the beauty of it all (and the photos), but it was how we could interact with it.  The installation combined video and music for a meditative experience that makes you feel like you are walking through the magical, glowing forest to lying under water to exploring the body and nature in a whole new way. I would highly recommend. Buy your tickets now!

The Pixel Forest got me thinking about past New York art exhibit experiences. Had it been summer, I am sure I would have stayed in line. After all, I am the girl who waited six hours to go to the Rain Room at the MOMA and even longer to see Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the MET.

I know you must be thinking, “What? That is just crazy!” It was, but I had the best time doing it, because the people I was with made it fun. Also I ended up being quoted on the front page of the New York Times.  My quote:

“It’s a New York thing — FOMO,” said Brianne Chai-Onn, 34, using the acronym for “fear of missing out.”

“A lot of people have this syndrome,” she said while waiting in line on Saturday. “That’s why we don’t sit in our apartments.”

I still think this is a New York thing and people at the office still call me the FOMO girl. It comes and goes, but really only in New York would you see people lining up around the block to go see an art exhibit.

My advice. You should go see, just don’t wait in line.


2011 FOMO at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I went to see the Savage Beauty Exhibition in 2011 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) with my friend Rohini and her younger brother, Rohan, who was visiting New York City. Again, the exhibit was going to close soon and we wanted to see it. We talked and laughed and made the best of it even while holding umbrellas in the rain because the line started outside of the MET. By the time we were done, it was 1am and people were still in line. The MET said it was one of their most popular after the Mona Lisa. To this day, I would say Alexander McQueen Exhibit 2011 at the MET is one of the most amazing art exhibits I have seen in my life, and maybe even my favorite.

2013 FOMO at the Museum of Modern Art 


The Rain Room was a special exhibit and one of my first experiences with an interactive installation. I am not an art connoisseur by any means and I know that many reviews by art critics questioned it the Rain Room should quality as art. All I know is that my French friends, Lalou and Hubert, suggested we go see it and I was game. We had all heard the news about how people were waiting in line from 6am. We came prepared bringing food, water, reading materials and even cards. Everyone wanted to see this madly popular installation by Random International, which was a room equipped with a censored sprinkler system basically. Visitors could literally walk in the rain without getting wet because the sensors could detect when people were below. We said, “Why not? Let’s do it.” We made friends with the people in line. It was a little community. We held their space while they went to lunch and they did the same for us. We went across the street to watch some of the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals with France. We chatted with a journalist, named Julie Belcove, who happened to be writing a story for the New York Times. We finally got into the room, ran around, took pictures, jumped, glided, and pranced for a maximum of ten minutes, which is all we were allowed. I am still happy I did it, not for the exhibit itself perhaps, but for the memories it created with my two friends, who agree, “only in New York”.

2017 FOMO at the New Museum (ALMOST)

Here is the backstory on why I didn’t end up standing in line to see the Pixel Forest Exhibit, but I almost did. When I got the New Museum, the line was already insane and it was freezing. My friend Annette got there before me and told the doorman that she was going to she bookstore so that she could get in line. I took the cue from her to say the same thing. Once inside, I asked the cashier in the bookstore how do people get inside without standing in line. The simple answer. You buy your ticket online. I almost felt like going outside and screaming to the people in line, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to spoil their FOMO moment. Maybe they would meet someone cool in line or make an unforgettable memory or something. They could figure it out if the cold was too much for them.

Lesson Learned: They have done experiments on how people follow behaviors of others. They just stand in line because they assume others are standing in line for a good reason, but no one knows exactly why. Don’t be one of those people. Ask questions.


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