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London’s Tate Modern announced that 5.3 million patrons visited the museum in 2012, a record for the institution. In fact, the number of visitors was up a considerable 9.5 percent from the previous year.

An exhibition devoted to the work of contemporary artist Damien Hirst (b. 1965), which ran from April 4 to September 9, 2012, contributed significantly to the Tate’s record attendance. The show, which featured some of the controversial artist’s best-known works, attracted 463,000 visitors making it the most popular solo show ever organized by the museum. The Tate’s recently opened performance space, The Tanks, also contributed to the increase in patrons. The Tanks, which opened in July, is a permanent space for not only performance, but installations and video art as well.

Tate Modern, which opened in 2000, is Britain’s national museum for modern and contemporary art. Located along the Thames River in the former Bankside Power Station, the museum expects another stellar year. Exhibitions planned for 2013 include a major retrospective of the pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) and a show devoted to Swiss-born painter Paul Klee (1879-1940).

Published in News
Friday, 28 December 2012 17:14

Affordable Art Fair Expands to Include Hong Kong

The Affordable Art Fair announced that it will launch a version of its popular show in Hong Kong next year. Taking place from March 15-17, 2013, the fair will bring together 80 local and international galleries at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Affordable Art Fair launched in 1999 and strives to make the art world and collecting more accessible. There are currently 16 Affordable Art Fairs that take place worldwide. Since its inception, Over 1 million visitors have attended Affordable Art Fairs and art sales at the various shows total over $275 million.

The Affordable Art Fair in Hong Kong will present emerging artists alongside well-known names. In an effort to promote buying, all works will be priced around $130 to $13,000 with 75% of offerings under $10,000. Camilla Hewitson, Director of Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong said, “With Hong Kong’s position as the leading contemporary art market in Asia, we feel it is without a doubt the ideal city in which to launch an Afford Art Fair.”

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Friday, 28 December 2012 13:22

French Museums Report Record Attendance in 2012

The Louvre, Centre Pompidou, and Musee d’Orsay all reported record attendance numbers for 2012. Recent expansions, newly unveiled renovations, and impressive exhibitions are responsible for beckoning troves of visitors from across the world to the Parisian institutions.

The Louvre, which is the most-visited museum in the world, summons bigger crowds each year. 2012 marked the largest attendance figures ever recorded for the institution with nearly 10 million visitors this year. Expanded Islamic art galleries and a spate of well-received temporary exhibitions were of particular interest to visitors. In fact, they helped boost attendance 29-percent from 2011. Exhibition highlights at the Louvre in 2012 included a show devoted to Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and the birth of American Landscape painting, the presentation of Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452-1519) masterwork, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, and an exhibition of Raphael’s (1483-1520) later works, which he produced in Rome.

The Centre Pompidou, which specialized in modern and contemporary art, welcomed over 3.8 million visitors in 2012, a 6-percent increase from 2011. The Centre Pompidou held three major retrospectives this year, which helped raise visitor numbers. An exhibition devoted to Henri Matisse (1869-1954) titled Matisse, Paires et séries brought 495,000 visitors; a Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) retrospective brought 425,000; and a show of Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí’s (1904-1989) works has seen approximately 6,700 visitors per day since it opened on November 21.

After attendance figures declined from 2008 to 2010, it appears that the Impressionist institution, the Musée d’Orsay, has bounced back with 3.6 million visitors this year. A 15-percent increase from last year, the boosted attendance numbers were likely the result of the reopening of renovated gallery spaces and a major Edgar Degas (1834-1917) exhibition, which brought 480,000 visitors. The current exhibition, Impressionism and Fashion, is expected to see 500,000 guests before closing on January 21, 2013.

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After twelve years at the helm of the world’s busiest museum, Henri Loyrette announced that he will leave his post at the Musée du Louvre in April of 2013. Before becoming the president and director of the Louvre, Loyrette served as the first curator and then the director of Paris’ Musée d’Orsay from 1994 to 2001 and has served as France’s chief curator of heritage since 1975. Loyrette has already informed the president of France, François Hollande, and the country’s minister of culture of his departure.

The Louvre attracts more visitors each year than any other institution in the world and Loyrette has managed to keep that number on the rise. In fact, the number of visitors has almost doubled under Loyrette’s leadership; 5.1 million patrons were reported in 2001 and by the end of 2012, almost 10 million people will have visited the Louvre this year.

However, Loyrette did much more than increase attendance during his time at the Louvre. He is responsible for implementing the museum’s contemporary art program and has organized exhibitions by Cy Twombly (1928-2011), Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945), and many other renowned modern artists. Loyrette employed a new policy that relied on crowd-sourced fundraising and launched a number of successful public campaigns that asked art enthusiasts to help the museum make important acquisitions. Loyrette also oversaw the opening of the Louvre’s outpost in the northern city of Lens as well as the expansion of the museum’s Islamic art galleries, which opened earlier this year.

Loyrette will no longer be in charge when the Louvre’s outpost in Abu Dhabi opens. The controversial project stirred debate in the French art world as Abu Dhabi has paid nearly $1.3 billion to use the Louvre name for thirty years and to gain access to the museum’s collection during that time. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the Abu Dhabi location is slated to open in 2015.

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As part of a yearlong celebration of Italian culture hosted by Italy’s foreign minister, Michelangelo’s (1475-1564) iconic work, David-Apollo, will be go on view today at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata unveiled the sculpture yesterday, December 12. David-Apollo will be on view in the West Building’s Italian galleries through March 3, 2013.

Michelangelo carved David-Apollo in 1530 for Baccio Valori, who served as the interim governor of Florence per the Medici pope Clement VII’s appointment. Michelangelo and the pope were at political odds, but the artist wished to make peace with the Medici through his work. Michelangelo never finished David-Apollo as he left Italy and never returned after Clement VII’s death.

Part of the Museo Nazionale del Barello’s collection in Florence, David-Apollo traveled to the National Gallery once before in 1949. The masterpiece’s installation in Washington over sixty years ago coincided with former president Harry Truman’s inaugural reception and attracted more than 791,000 visitors. In 2013, David-Apollo’s presentation will coincide with President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

The Year of Italian Culture, launched by Sant’Agata under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, will bring a range of Italian masterpieces to nearly 70 cultural institutions across the United States. Works range from classical and Renaissance to baroque and contemporary and cover the realms of art, music, theater, cinema, literature, science, design, fashion, and cuisine.    

Published in News
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 12:22

Brussels Antiques & Fine Arts Fair Begins Next Month

Now in its 58th year, the Brussels Antiques and Fine Art Fair (BRAFA) will take place January 19-27, 2013 at the exhibition space, Tour & Taxis. Featuring 128 dealers from 11 countries, the fair will present works from the Middle Ages to the 20th century including antiquities, jewelry, furniture, ceramics, drawings, engravings, Old Master as well as modern paintings, sculpture, textiles, contemporary art, photography, and much more.

After drawing in 46,000 visitors last year, BRAFA organizers have made a number of adjustments in hopes of surpassing 2012’s numbers. There will be 26 new exhibitors present and an increased emphasis has been placed on pre-Columbian art; archaeology; primitive arts; 17th to 19th century furniture; 19th to 20th century paintings, sculptures, and drawings; Asiatic arts; 20th century decorative arts; and modern and contemporary art. BRAFA has also added a new section to this year’s fair devoted to manuscripts. Exhibitors in this section include Signatures (Paris), Librairie Thomas-Scheler (Paris), and Sanderus Antiquariaat (Ghent, Belgium).

In honor of the fair’s tenth year at Tour & Taxis, BRAFA’s architects, Volume Architecture, have designed an extraordinary entrance inspired by Byzantine architecture, particularly that of the mosques in Istanbul.

VIP guests will be given a sneak peek of the impressive fair at BRAFA’s exclusive charity event on January 18. A silent auction will be held during the evening and proceeds will benefit the Merode Foundation to support its work on educational and social projects in Brussels’ working class neighborhoods.

Exhibitor highlights include Whitford Fine Art (London), which specializes in French and British 20th century painting and sculpture, Leysen Jewelers (Belgium), jewelers to the Belgian royal family, and Guy Pieters Gallery (Paris/Belgium), a leading force in the contemporary art world for the past 30 years.

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Major Surrealist art collectors, Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch, are hoping to donate their impressive holdings to the city of Berlin. The only problem is there doesn’t seem to be room in any of the museums for the works. Worth nearly $200 million, the Pietzsch’s collection includes pieces by Salvador Dali (1904-1989), Max Ernst, (1891-1976) Rene Magritte (1898-1967), Yves Tanguy (1900-1955), and Joan Miro (1893-1983). The result of over fifty years of fervent collecting, the Pietzsch’s collection is currently hanging on the walls of their home in a suburb of Berlin.

The Pietzsches lent their collection to Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie for an exhibition in 2009. The show drew almost 200,000 visitors and proved that their holdings would be an asset to the city’s art offerings. Upon seeing the public’s high level of interest in their collection, the Pietzsches decided to donate the works to Berlin after their deaths; their only stipulation is that the works be kept on permanent display.

Earlier this year, officials suggested moving the Berlin’s Old Master paintings to make room for 20th century works but an online petition and spate of angry newspaper columns ensued. Authorities are currently working on plans to accommodate the gift.

One option currently being explored is the construction of an entirely new museum to house the Old Masters collection. If the city decides to do so, the Gemaeldegalerie at Potsdamer Platz would be freed up for 20th century art, including the Pietzsch’s collection. Currently, the only space in Berlin for 20th century art is at the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie. However, the space is too small to display all of Berlin’s holdings, much less the Pietzsch’s expansive collection.

Officials aim to release alternative plans to accommodate the Pietzsch gift during the first half of 2013.

Published in News
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 12:34

As Expected, Art Basel Miami Did Not Disappoint

After all of the galas, events, and parties that took place at Art Basel week in Miami died down on Sunday, December 9, it was clear that the show enjoyed another stellar year. In fact, many critics, exhibitors, and visitors deemed 2012 the best Art Basel presentation to date. Steady sales and a constant stream of visitors that totaled 70,000 were reported over the course of the five-day fair. Among the show’s patrons were over 130 museum and institution groups as well as powerful private collectors from across the globe. Exhibitor Adam Sheffer of Cheim & Read Gallery in New York said, “We were delighted again this year by the results of Art Basel Miami Beach. It remains the gold standard of the international art fair circuit.”

PULSE Miami, another contemporary fair that takes place during Miami’s art week, also reported stable sales and high attendance. In fact, the number of visitors to Ice Palace Studios where the show is held was up by 20% from last year. Cornell DeWitt, Director of PULSE Contemporary Art Fairs said, “We are thrilled by the increased number in attendance this year…Collectors at all levels purchased work ranging in price from mid-level well into six figures.” Works by major contemporary artists such as Chuck Close and Robert Longo, and William Eggleston were among the top sales.

With all of the attention and success that Art Basel week has garnered, collectors, exhibitors, and art enthusiasts are surely not wasting any time in making plans for next year’s trip to Miami.

Published in News
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 16:32

Dallas Museum of Art Nixes Admission Fee

The Dallas Museum of Art announced today that it will nullify its $10 general admission fee, effective January 21, 2013. The museum will also launch an online rewards program that could even make membership free.

In recent years, many institutions have reversed their decision to charge visitors and are now free to the public. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Museum of Art in Baltimore, and the Detroit Institute of the Arts have all decided that free admission will help their institutions become more widely accessible, which, in turn, will keep visitor numbers up.

While it appears that the aforementioned museums have started a trend, many institutions in major tourist destinations are not so quick to jump on the free entry bandwagon. In New York, the Museum of Modern Art charges $25 and the Guggenheim Museum charges $22. San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, another major tourist attraction, charges $18. Other big-name museums that require visitors to pay are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Carnegie Museum of Art.

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The 500-years-old Sistine Chapel is the most visited room in the world. Around five million people a year flock to Rome to see Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes, one of the wonders of Western civilization. After the Sistine Chapel ‘s 500th birthday this past Wednesday, the Vatican warned that they might need to limit the number of visitors in order to protect the masterpiece.

Completed on October 31,1512 after four years of work by Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel has never ceased to awe visitors and has become one of the most famous images in art history. The irreplaceability of the Sistine Chapel has many critics asking the Vatican to enforce limitations on the number of visitors per year. However, Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums, says he doesn’t foresee that happening anytime in the near future. He did admit that it might be a necessary measure further on down the road.

The dust, humidity, and carbon monoxide produced by visitors could possibly damage Michelangelo’s frescoes in the long term. In 1994, a 14-year restoration project that included an elaborate dehumidifying system, air conditioners, filters, and micro-climate controls was completed. However, the number of visitors to the Chapel continues to grow, putting the system under increasing stress. Paolucci is currently looking into newer technologies that will prevent the Vatican from having to limit the number of visitors to the Sistine Chapel.

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