Tag: Yayoi Kusama

Are blockbuster exhibitions profitable?

Organize a major exhibition with the intention to sell to other institutions. Publish a large catalog with the Taschen or an other publishing house.
With big name artists a profitable show is achievable. Visitors readily pay a surcharge, and it is easier to find sponsors.
For museums that own big names like Bacon, Warhol or Picasso the lending fees can really make a lot of money.
Photo exhibitions, with the ability to show copies and exhibit from the own collection, are much easier to export. It can be lucrative to make a show that will go on tour. It can also lead to widening a reputation, but costs can only be recovered if the exhibition is shown in two more locations.
Organizing shows often happens in cooperation with three to four other institutions. Collaborating from the beginning. Without partners to share the costs, it’s hardly possible to organize large exhibitions. An institution without collection can never offer something in return, if they ask another museum for help.
Shopping for traveling exhibitions can be expensive. Museums get offered exhibitions on weekly basis. On average they take on a ready-made exhibition once a year.
The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York organized a the Jeff Koons retrospective in 2014. It was a box-office success. They sold it to the Centre Pompidou. It was the most attended exhibition of a living artist in the Paris museum’s history (more than 650,000). This however did not result in a big financial profits. Only through the sale of publications tied to the exhibition, The museum made money.
The French museum made €2.6 million from ticket sales and €320,000 in earnings from the sale of publications. But the Centre Pompidou had to pay a €1.25m lending fee to the Whitney. The museum only broke even with the show. That sad news came from a lawsuit in Paris. The cost of bringing a mega exhibitions like this to Europe is gigantic. There are many associated costs too, such as transportation and insurance. These figures show the hard reality of traveling exhibitions. The Whitney did probably not get rich from it either.
In 2013 the Victoria and Albert Museums must have earned hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The London museum had it’s most visited show in it’s history. More than 1.3 million people have visited the show. That was the David Bowie exhibition. Ninety percent of the objects in the show on loan from the David Bowie Archive in New York. Bowie offered curators full access and they did not pay a fee to borrow the works. Bowie merchandise alone brought in £3.6m in retail sales.
The show traveled to Barcelona, São Paulo, Berlin, Groningen, Chicago, Paris, Melbourne and Tokyo. The V&A paid for shipping and other expenses. The catalogue (in seven foreign languages) has sold more than 160,000 copies.
Although the V&A had high display costs, the borrowing fees will have helped to offset that.
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors will travel to four major museums in the United States and Canada. When the exhibit opened at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington. The Hirshhorn had to figure out a plan to manage the crowds and to generate revenue from a free show. They decided to ask people to sign up for timed tickets in advance of their museum visit. The first 9,000 tickets were reserved in only six minutes. The museum’s website crashed from demand. They also offered their members direct access to the show. Before the show opened, the museum had grown their membership with twenty percent. Hirshhorn membership starts at $50. It also sold nearly 400 “Contributor’s Circle” memberships for $250 apiece. Higher-level memberships brought in about $12,000. That means an additional $237,000 in revenues came into the Hirshhorn in two months.
The museum will also earn money from the sale of the catalogue that it published with Delmonico Books. The lending fees for the show will no doubt be significant.
The show can be seen in the Seattle Art Museum (June 30–Sept. 10, 2017), The Broad in Los Angeles (October 2017–January 2018), the Art Gallery of Ontario (March–May 2018) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (July–October 2018).

The Armory Show

Two hundred eight thousand square feet divided over two piers. The Armory Show, featured wider aisles, bigger booths. Two hundred ten galleries from thirty countries with many solo or duo presentations.



Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 17.35.22.png
Sprüth Magers
Booth 800

With photographic works by Thomas Ruffa a huge metal installation from Michail Pirgelis and paintings by Sterling Ruby.


Galerie Ron Mandos
Booth 207

Levi van Veluw’s solo-presentation explores monolithic a new world.


Pippy Houldsworth Gallery
Booth 736

Paintings Stefanie Heinze, The Bruce High Quality Foundation and Ayan Farah. Drawings installation by Rachel Goodyear and a porcelain and stoneware sculpture by Francesca DiMattio.


 Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 17.25.54
Bugada & Cargnel
Booth 518

Paintings by Jack Greer and Claire Tabouret sculptures by Théo Mercier drawing by Iris van Dongen.


Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 17.32.00.png
Wetterling gallery
Booth 915

Monumental works remembering Lou Reed and David Bowie by Doug Starn and Mike Starn.


Pace Gallery
Booth 530

Studio Drift’s installation ‘Drifter’ consisted of a monolithic concrete block that appeared to be levitating.


König galerie
Booth 700

Sculptures by Jeppe Hein, Jose Dávila, Erwin Wurm. A drawing by Rinus Van de Velde paintings by Camille Henrot.


Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 13.14.26.png
Victoria Miro
Booth 600

Presentated a big  Yayoi Kusama installation situated at the center of the fair. At their booth they showed further works by; Yayoi Kusama, Hernan Bas, Alice Neel, Peter Doig, Sarah Sze, Maria Nepomuceno, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Jules De Balincourt, Verne Dawson, Barnaby Furnas, Alex Hartley, Secundino Hernández, Christian Holstad, John Kørner, Wangechi Mutu, Chris Ofili, Celia Paul, Tal R and Kara Walker.


Jeffrey Deitch
Booth 732

Deitch recreated the installation “Florine Stettheimer Collapsed Time Salon,”from  The Armory Show’s predecessing fair at Gramercy Park Hotel. Works by Florine Stettheimer, Cecily Brown, Philip Taaffe, Lisa Yuskavage, Thomas Lanigan-schmidt, Joe Brainard, Thomas Trosch, Rob Wynne, Aurel Schmidt, Walter Robinson, Joe Coleman, Laura Owens, Tschabalala Self, John Currin, Rachel Feinstein, Elizabeth Peyton, Pavel Tchelitchew, were on show.


Koenig & Clinton
Booth 737

Brandon Lattu gave an homage to Frank Stella.

Exhibitions Pick of the year

Museums the world over organized exhibitions to commemorate the anniversary of the death of some great artists this year.

Hieronymus Bosch died 500 years ago for this reason “Het Noordbrabants Museum” in the town of his birth Den Bosch organized the exhibition: Visions of Genius. Donating museums included the Louvre, the Prado, the Accademia in Venice, the Metropolitan New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Unfortunately  the most famous work, The Garden of Earthly Delights was not loaned.


Robert Mapplethorpe died 70 years ago he had LA shows in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum. Known for his highly stylized black and white photographs crudely but consciously treating controversial subject-matters. The work shows the New York underground of the 60s and 70s portraying celebrity s, himself, nudes, BDSM, and still-life images of flowers. 


Marcel Broodthaers, who’s death was 40 years ago, had a show at MoMA, the Reina Sofía and the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (KNW) in Düsseldorf. The Retrospective was the first of his work to take place in New York. It gathered about two hundred works, mostly made in the sixties and seventies.


Georgia O’Keeffe 30 death this years ago, had exhibitions together with Charles Sheeler and Arthur Garfield Dove, Stuart Davis  and Marsden Hartley at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. The Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach showed her work among with Florine Stettheimer, Helen Torr and Marguerite Thompson Zorach. She had a Solo at Tate Modern in London. Her work consists mostly of erotic looking flowers however she always denied that her paintings were in any way sexual.


Still very much alive is Grayson Perry. His exhibition “Hold Your Beliefs Lightly” was shown at the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht and the ARoS Museum in Aarhus. A great chronicler of contemporary life, Perry draws us in with humorous nostalgia as well as anger and fear. He deals with identity, sexuality, gender, social status, religion, his childhood and his alter ego Claire.


Matthew Barney meanwhile displayed his work at the Astrup Fearnley in Oslo. Known for making sculptural installations combined with video and performance, he created a new narrative and layout for this exhibition. With the title Bildungsroman Barney reflects on how the constellation of works can be read as a journey in the shaping of his work.


William Kentridge showed at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, London’s Whitechapel Gallery and at Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery. As a white ethnically Jewish South African with lawyer parents defending victims of apartheid, he has a unique position as a third-party observer. He uses this in his prints, drawings, animations and films.

Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 15.06.03.png

Also at Martin-Gropius-Bau was “Mach Dich hübsch!” by Isa Genzken after it was on display at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam earlier. Genzken; Gerhard Richter’s wife is a very influential and important artists in her own right. Her work includes three-dimensional work, paintings, drawings, films, photographs, collages, artist’s books and public sculptures.


Rachel Maclean’s show “Wot u 🙂 about?” could be seen at Home in Manchester and Tate Britain, London. Maclean has acquired a reputation for skewering sociopolitical tendencies with works that are cute and creepy at the same time. Just a few years after she graduating from Edinburgh College of Art, her work is now in great demand. She will represent Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2017.


Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror rooms where on show in the Louisiana Museum in Denmark, the Moderna Museet Stockholm and the HAM (Helsinki Art Museum). They will be on a US tour next two years going to the Hirshhorn Washington, the Seattle Art Museum, the Broad LA, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Cleveland Museum of Art.


Manifesta 11 in Zurich was great but Julian Rosefeldt’s “Manifesto” makes it as the last on this list. Cate Blanchett in the guise of a school teacher, factory worker, choreographer, punk, newsreader, scientist, puppeteer, widow, and a homeless man presented artists-manifestos. They were presented on massive screens at the Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart Park Avenue Armory in New York .