Forget the cultural hotspots of New York, London or Paris. The most popular art exhibition in the world last year was in a gallery in Rio de Janeiro, where 9,700 people flocking through the doors each day to see works by Max Escher.
Brazilian art lovers poured into The Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB) in Rio by their thousands in 2011. The building, which was previously a bank, hosted three of last year’s 10 most popular exhibitions, according to research by The Art Newspaper.
The touring exhibition The Magical World of Escher, which ran in Rio from January to March, was visited by 573,691 people.The show brought together the Dutch graphic artist’s most famous prints and drawings. It included 95 of Escher works and took curator Pieter Tjabbes five years to convince the museum in The Hague to allow them to travel.
Brazil’s contemporary art scene continues to strengthen. It was given huge state support in the 1990s when corporate tax breaks were introduced for cultural investment.
One particular supporter of the arts is mining magnate Bernardo Paz, who opened the 3,000-acre contemporary art site, Inhotim, in 2006 in Belo Horizonte. Last year Inhotim attracted a total of 770,000 visitors. The Art Newspaper called Brazil’s appetite for contemporary art “remarkable”
Analyzing the rankings more closely, other data relating to Brazil also draws attention. While the unit CCBB Rio appears three times among the ten most visited exhibition, the cultural center of São Paulo appears only in 23rd place, also with the show of Dutch illustrator. Nothing unusual, according to an independent curator, art critic and journalist Marcus Lontra.
“Historically, the middle class carioca has always been a great consumer of culture, unlike others that have subsequently structured in Brazil such as São Paulo or Minas Gerais. Because, in Rio, one need not be rich for this. Locals have this peculiarity and always participated in artistic and cultural activities, “says Lontra, curator of the exhibition” Niemeyer, architect, Brazilian citizen “and” Where Are You, Generation 80? “, recalling other signs of success in the country.
“This was reflected in many ways, as in Monet and Rodin exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Rio in the 90s. The number of visitations in the city were always superior to that of St. Paul, despite being a state capital most populous city, “says the journalist, which opens on June 2, the Hélio Oiticica Art Center, in downtown Rio, the exhibition” Mirror reflected, “bringing together works by 38 contemporary Brazilian artists.