Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Big Names, Big Audiences

I found this article, From Matisse to Hockney: Here’s What Makes a Smash Hit Art Show, very relevant to what we discussed this week concerning market and audience development. The article demonstrates that the best performing art exhibits—as of late—have been single big-name artist shows such as Matisse, Klee, Picasso. The big-name as well as the unique opportunity to see a massive volume of that particular artists work in one place seems to draw from multiple audiences—occasional to frequent—illustrated in last week’s review of the art consumer reports. Also, I found the statement about the scene in London being so saturated with great exhibits interesting in context of our discussion about the division of people’s time and the choice to consume in person or at home in the interest of convenience.

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2 comments on “Big Names, Big Audiences

  1. zeniasimpson
    September 18, 2014

    This is a great article and I have seen a lot more blockbuster and big name exhibitions and retrospectives as of late. Though this wasn’t touched in the article, some museums are hesitant to only put these on because curators aren’t able to bring more high brow or intellectually challenging exhibitions on. There is major competition between the museums from the Whitney Biennial doing the Jeff Koons retrospective and Guggenheim doing Italian Futurism, Brooklyn Museum doing Ai Weiwie, in New York alone this summer you felt compelled to go to all but were hurt to fit them into a hectic schedule. However, it is possible and especially if museums are close to each other that museums could try to market together to make a day of seeing multiple shows. That’s how I managed to see the gallery shows I wanted as well as museum exhibitions. Also, staying open later after work is a great help. Most of the major museums in New York have one day where they stay open until 9 and that’s really helpful. Galleries are easier to go to since they typically have openings start at around 7 and are in such close proximity you can hop from one to the next. Museums expect their numbers to go up from one article I was reading about the Louvre and feel that these major exhibitions are the draw. Brooklyn Museum does a great job of doing things more cross-cultural like Jean Paul Gautier exhibit and now one about high heels where they have heavy hitters like Marilyn Minter doing video art. It draws the fashion people in town in New York for NYFW who typically wouldn’t venture to the museum from the tent, and it still appeals to high brow art people.

  2. jessicamallow
    September 19, 2014

    What a fitting title! Not only to big names draw bigger crowds, they provide, through such, an opportunity for those organizations to vet that new crowd to discover how/if they look what they see. You’ve drawn them on, and as we’ve read, retention is that a lot cheaper. Also, if big names are “cutting edge”, or if they give you a significant amount of spotlight, if your colleagues’ organizations are all hosting such types of events, then you would need to consider the voice of the brand of your own organization and whether or not also presenting such events allows room for such highlights.

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