Sometimes you just need to surrender to the hype, and Rain Room, which opens on November 1 at LACMA, is absolutely worth a visit. The installation gives visitors the delusion of being able to control the weather—walk up to the wall of rain and it stops—though it's the underlying technology that's always in control. Most importantly, the rainmaking machine consistently churns out a unique experience in a gallery setting: fun.
Part of that joy comes from not having to wait in an hours-long line first. By requiring timed tickets (which are still available), LACMA has seemingly mitigated the ceaseless queues for which the installation has become known. Instead of mind-numbing wait times grabbing headlines, it'll be the absolute accessibility of the installation: LACMA says 17,000 people have already made reservations.
During our press preview, there were more people packed into the gallery than there will be during public operating hours and things still ran smoothly. Though the exhibit staff has efficiency down to a science, we imagine there's a higher chance of things running behind as the afternoon goes on, so stick to a morning reservation if time is of the essence.
Rain Room works on technology, not magic, so you'll have to walk through the installation slowly if you want to stay dry. Other than a small splash or two, we (and our camera) were able to exit the exhibition almost completely rainless. Also, don't wear high heels; the floor is one giant metal grate.
Hannes Koch of Random International, the London-based group behind Rain Room, described the installation as a "selfie machine." We absolutely expect it to blow up your Instagram feed over the next four months. The collective is currently showing another version of Rain Room at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. The one in LA, though, is the first to be earthquake proof.