Today’s post has a gallery theme with some statistics on visitor numbers, a couple of exhibitions opening in London but focused on America and Russia, as well as a collecting art scheme from the Arts Council England for UK-based galleries.
Almost 40 million visitors went to galleries and art fairs in the UK last year, according to a press release issued today by the Whitechapel Gallery. It reports that, “On the last day of the financial year galleries across the UK reported record numbers of people coming through their doors over the last 12 months. Public galleries, private galleries and art fairs across the UK saw 38,905,533 million visitors* for the 09/10 financial year, an increase of 3.2% from 2008/09. *Attendance figures provided by over 350 organisations.
“Art has never been so popular, with exhibitions attracting bigger crowds than football matches. Visits to galleries and art fairs outstripped tickets to football matches attendance by over 13 million. A groundswell of hundreds of organisations contributed to the figures – from Tate Modern to HICA in Invernesshire, from small experimental spaces to the Frieze Art Fair.
“Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery, said, ‘There is a huge appetite for art in Britain. At the recently expanded Whitechapel Gallery we have received almost half a million visitors in the last 12 months – an increase of 120%. In these challenging times it demonstrates everyone increasingly values a direct experience of art.”
With this in mind, I point you to Jane Hilton‘s book launch and show Dead Eagle Trail (see photograph) opening from April 21 until 15 May at Host Gallery, London. I interviewed Jane for HotShoe (February/March issue) about the evolution of the work and present an extract from the feature Dead Eagle Trail. Also, there’s a show at the Haunch of Venison gallery in London Glasnost: Soviet non-conformist art from the 1980s from 16 April to 26 June.