Visitor Figures 2016

Top ten contemporary shows in 2016


This list is not so much a true indicator of quality as a reflection of the allure of cost-free gallery visits. Where in 2015 the category included only four free shows, six feature here, among them four Saatchi Gallery exhibitions and two of the same artist at different branches of Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, which are open 12 hours a day. Many of the artists are far from stellar names. It is doubtful, for instance, that a show of the relatively obscure Henri Barande would attract even a tenth of the 5,480 visitors a day that the Saatchi Gallery reports if it were at any other venue. And Patricia Piccinini’s grotesque-cum-cute, hyper-real genetics fantasies in silicone clearly caused a stir in Brazil, but she has been largely ignored by major international museum collections. More reflective of current artistic developments and prevailing curatorial taste are Jérôme Bel’s contribution to the Museum of Modern Art’s long-running Artist’s Choice programme, in which the choreographer employed staff members to perform in the museum’s atrium, and the Guggenheim Bilbao’s show of the Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s videos and photographs.