It's raining visitors at Lacma

Random International's Rain Room and Mapplethorpe show boost attendance to 1.4 million <br>

Visitors to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) rose to 1.4 million in the past year, boosted by Random International's Rain Room and its Robert Mapplethorpe show, among other exhibitions and events.

The latest batch of timed tickets for Rain Room, the installation of which on the Lacma campus is sponsored by Hyundai, went on sale yesterday (14 July). The indoor artificial downpour, which opened last November, has now been extended and is due to continue until 22 November. The piece temporarily turned purple in April in honour of the late musician Prince. 

Robert Mapplethorpe: the Perfect Medium, two complementary shows that opened at Lacma and at the J. Paul Getty Museum in March, are due to close at the end of July.

When the director Michael Govan arrived at Lacma in 2006, its annual attendance in our international survey was below 800,000. Since then, Lacma has installed Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass (2012) as well as acquiring in 2011 Christian Marclay's The Clock, which it screened again in 2015, attracting around 142,000 visitors. Lacma's profile on social media was boosted by Chris Burden's Urban Light (2008), which overnight became a landmark on Wilshire Boulevard. The installation of Los Angeles street lights was refurbished this year from May to June but it still shone on Instagram.

Lacma's planned exhibitions this autumn include a major exhibition of German art to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which will include works by Cranach, Dürer and Holbein, among the prestigious loans from the state collections of Berlin, Munich and Dresden among others (20 November-26 March 2017).

Picasso and Rivera, which is due to open on 4 December (until 30 April 2017) will pair the Spanish and Mexican modernist heavyweights, who were contemporaries. Co-curated by Govan with Diana Magaloni, Lacma's head of the art of the Americas, the show will travel to Mexico City's Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes next year.

Attracting visitors in person to institutions and major exhibitions while engaging with many more online and through social media were among the topics discussed this week at an international conference in Berlin. Communicating the Museum (until 15 July) is organised by the communications agency Agenda. Representatives from Lacma, the Getty and Los Angeles's newest museum on the block, The Broad, were among the delegates and speakers, which attracted communication and fundraising professionals from across the US, Europe as well as Australia. Next year the conference will take place in Los Angeles to coincide with the start of the Getty-led exhibitions of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.