Brazil Trumps London & New York Exhibition Attendance Figures

Details of The Art Newspaper’s Museum Attendance have today been released on the web

The survey reveals the top ten most attended museums of 2011, as well as detailing a massive growth in museum attendance overall, with the top ten shows of 2011 needing almost  7,000 visitors a day to make the cut, compared the 3,000 of 1996. In 1996, around four million people went to the top ten shows; but last year saw almost six million people go to see the ten best-attended shows.

And, remarkably, the museum that comes out on top for 2011 was not a US, European or Japanese institution, but a Brazilian one – the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil’s (CCBB) Rio de Janeiro space. In 2011 this museum hosted  and incredible three exhibitions that made this year’s top ten, with ‘The Magical World of Escher’ coming out as the most popular, with 9,700 visitors a day. Laurie Anderson at the CCBB in Rio attracted 6,930 visitors a day, while the exhibition of Mariko Mori was marginally more successful with 6,990 a day. 

In the US, ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art made the grade with more than 8,000 people a day, and around 660,000 in total. The exhibition saw the Met clock a record year, with almost a million more visitors in 2011 compared to 2010. MoMa also ranked highly with its best attended show ‘Abstract Expressionist New York’, seen by 1.2 million people, or 5,660 a day. The Seattle Art Museum’s exhibition of Picasso brought 5,500 visitors a day, and 406,000 in total.

The UK also got a look in with the National Gallery and the Tate Modern, achieving 5.8 m and 4.8 million respectively. 2011’s best-attended solo artist show was Ai Weiwei’s installation of millions of ceramic seeds in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, with the Tate calculating that around 1.2 million visited. But, crucially, despite the popular Gauguin exhibition achieving 4,000 visitors a day, its overall attendance dipped below five million.

The National Folk Museum of Korea provided figures for the first time and staged four shows that each attracted more than 9,000 visitors a day. Japan’s Nara National Museum continued to host the most crowded show worldwide with the annual autumn exhibition of Shoso-in temple treasures; running for only 17 days, it attracted 239,600 people in 2011, with more than 14,300 people attending a day.

In Paris, the Louvre increased its annual attendance by 400,000 to nearly 8.9 million, maintaining its top position, while the Centre Pompidou also saw a massive increase from 3.1 million to 3.6 million. 

Graphic of most visited museums

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