Kandinsky Retrospective Helps Set New Attendance Record for 2009

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Installation view: Kandinsky, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Record-breaking attendance at the museum has been recorded for 2009, the fiftieth-anniversary year of the landmark building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Over 1.3 million visitors came to the museum this past year, enjoying groundbreaking exhibitions such as The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989; Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward; The Sweeney Decade: Acquisitions at the 1959 Inaugural; and Kandinsky.

The numbers for the year were 22 percent greater than projected, and 16 percent higher than 2008, which tallied just over 1 million visitors.

Kandinsky, a full-scale retrospective of Vasily Kandinsky, was especially popular with visitors, who made it the best-attended show since Frank Gehry: Architect in 2001. In particular, the week after Christmas, from December 27 to January 2, saw 45,150 visitors, the busiest week since the museum began recording attendance figures in 1992.

Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, said the numbers reflect “a tremendous vote of confidence. . . . The story is an almost insatiable appetite for Frank Lloyd Wright and a giant tsunami of interest in Kandinsky. But we have to be honest about the building. It’s a phenomenally attractive icon.”

The 50th Anniversary continues in 2010 with special exhibitions Tino Sehgal, opening January 29, and Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum, which opens February 12.

Installation view: Kandinsky, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, September 18, 2009–January 13, 2010. Photo: David Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation