This article was written BY Alex Greenberger, from ArtNews
Less than a month into its run, a Pablo Picasso exhibition in China is already drawing massive crowds.
“Picasso – Birth of a Genius,” a blockbuster show on view at the UCCA Contemporary Art Center in Beijing, has reportedly already broken at least one record. According to the museum hosting the exhibition, as of July 1, 134,000 people have seen the show, which runs through September 1. That means that, on average, about 8,930 people have attended the exhibition each day since it opened on June 15.
“We’ve already had more than one record-breaking day since the show opened on June 15th, with 12,268 people visiting UCCA, on Sunday, June 23—this almost doubled the previous record, set a week earlier,” a UCCA spokesperson told ARTnews. “We have been managing the flow of guests through the exhibition to ensure the best visitor experience possible, and are confident that this record will be broken again during the show’s three-month run.”
The UCCA’s Picasso show features 103 works from the Musée National Picasso-Paris and surveys the first three decades of the artist’s career. It is believed to be the largest Picasso exhibition ever held in mainland China, and press materials frame it as a sign of a strengthening relationship between the country and France, whose president, Emmanuel Macron, said in a statement, “We have decided that 2021 will be the year of cultural tourism between our two countries, and, I must say, all these initiatives, conceived in recent months and carried out together, are not a coincidence.”
Within the first 15 days of its run, the Picasso exhibition brought in about a third of the visitors to the UCCA’s most popular exhibition of 2018, its Xu Bing retrospective, which was seen by 365,506 people over the course of three months, according to an attendance survey by the Art Newspaper. The Xu show was reportedly among the top 50 most well-attended shows worldwide last year.