The World's Most Popular Exhibitions 2016

Museums are popular. They attract more people in the UK each year than football matches. Rare collections command long queues. Last year proved no exception. The top five art museums (Musee du Louvre, The Met Museum, British Museum, National Gallery and Vatican Museums) together attracted some 33 million visitors last year. The Bosch exhibition at Noordbrabants hosted over 400,000 visitors in its three months run. Visitors queued in sub-zero temperatures for four hours to get to see the Serov exhibition at the State Tretyakov Gallery.

Queues for Serov exhibition

Each year the Art Newspaper publishes a survey of the most visited exhibitions across the globe. We take a look at some of last year's most popular exhibitions. If you didn't make it to the shows or were lucky enough to go and want to relive the experience, we have included links to the exhibition catalogues where available.

Most popular in terms of total visitors

When it comes to total visitors, the Museum of Modern Art’s Picasso Sculpture exhibition, which ran between late 2015 and February 2016, was the most popular show. More than 851,000 visitors went to the exhibition, which featured more than 100 of Picasso’s dynamic sculptures and attracted glowing reviews. Roberta Smith from the New York Times described the show as  'one of the best exhibitions you’ll ever see at the Museum of Modern Art'.

Picasso Sculpture at MoMA

Most popular in terms of visitors per day

It was, however, a Brazilian museum that saw the most visitors per day. The free Post-Impressionist Masterpieces exhibition at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro pulled in an incredible 9,700 visitors per day, 

In terms of fashion exhibitions, Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Tech at the Metropolitan Museum of Art proved the most popular. The show which explored the role of technology in fashion from the 20th-century to the present and featured more than 170 ensembles, attracted some three-quarters of a million visitors.

Manus X Machina at the Met Museum

Most visited piece of art

The world's most visited piece of art wasn't in a museum - but rather on a lake in Italy: Christo’s Floating Piers. This installation which was in place for just 16 days comprised three kilometres of saffron-coloured pathways connecting the shore of Italy's Lake Iseo to islands at its centre and pulled in some 1.2 million visitors. 'Those who experienced The Floating Piers felt like they were walking on water – or perhaps the back of a whale' said Christo. 

Christo's floating piers


 Browse books accompanying the most popular exhibition of 2016.

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published