LACMA Now Owns a Rain Room

It's a gift from Restoration Hardware.

Rain Room at the Museum of Modern Art in 2013. Photo DJ Ecal, via Flickr.

No matter what our new president says, there is, in fact, a drought in California, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is perhaps doing its part to combat the dry, and the lie, by touting its acquisition of a water-based bit of installation art.

The immensely popular Rain Room (2013), by London-based collective Random International, has entered the museum’s collection, according to the Art Newspaper, as a gift from housewares company RH Restoration Hardware.

By the time the installation was to go on view at the LA museum, in October 2015, weekend slots had already sold out through the following January. Some 190,000 people visited over 15 months, according to the Art Newspaper.

“It is especially appropriate that the Rain Room is a gift to LACMA as we are near to marking the 50th anniversary of the museum’s landmark Art & Technology program,” museum director Michael Govan told the paper.

The piece, if you missed the buzz, consists of a dramatically lit room with sprinklers overhead that, triggered by motion sensors, turn off when visitors walk beneath them, such that you get the sensation of walking through rain but staying (mostly) dry.

Rain Room had previously been on view at Budi Tek’s Shanghai Museum after a blockbuster showing at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where crowds braved the summer heat in long lines for the experience of not feeling a cool downpour.

Hannes Koch, a co-founder of Random International along with Florian Ortkrass and Stuart Wood, tells the paper that the installation of the work in California offers a “dystopian glimpse” of a world in which rain occurs only indoors.

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