Visitor Figures 2016

Top 15 Big Ticket shows in 2016


A minor miracle and major logistical undertaking was the art event of 2016, as Christo and 1.2 million people walked on water as part of the Floating Piers installation. This vast work by the New York-based, Bulgarian-born artist Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude was conceived more than four decades ago, and consisted of three kilometres of nylon-covered walkways linking islands on Lake Iseo in northern Italy. Young and old alike braved the heat and the throng to be part of the spectacle, transcending the usual art crowd.

The Big Ticket category covers events that cannot be properly compared to regular museums exhibitions. These include shows where the ticket covers entry to other attractions, such as the palace and gardens of Versailles; displays staged in a museum’s main lobby, such as Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall; as well as biennials and festivals.

In second place this year, dropping down from the top spot it has held in the previous two surveys, is the annual ArtPrize taking place across Grand Rapids, with 26,710 visitors a day. Notable mention must also go to the single venue Bienal de São Paulo. It attracted 10,919 visitors a day despite—or perhaps because of—its wholehearted embrace of the theme of uncertainty, even handing over the catering to one of the artists. Speaking to The Art Newspaper before the event, the curator Jochen Volz confessed: “We know that this might go wrong.” It certainly went wrong in the right way.