Visitor Figures 2016

Top ten thematic shows in 2016

By Emily Sharpe

The thematic category, which includes shows that span time periods and categories but fall under one theme, always boasts an eclectic mix (as well as a few surprises) and this year’s survey doesn’t disappoint. Topping the list is an exhibition of the artwork (the sketches, models and costumes) used to produce a popular 1990s Brazilian children’s television show about a 300-year-old boy—a sorcerer’s apprentice—who lives in a castle in the middle of São Paulo and repeatedly thwarts an evil property speculator’s attempts to demolish his home to build a high rise. The free exhibition at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil in Rio de Janeiro is the clear leader, with 8,288 visitors a day.

The Royal Academy of Arts claims the second spot with its garden exhibition, which featured canvases from the 1860s to 1920s by Monet, Renoir and Kandinsky among others. It drew 5,108 visitors a day, making it the fourth most visited show at the London museum in more than two decades. The rest of the top ten is rounded out with shows on everything from Guillaume Apollinaire as art critic to an artist’s village, complete with crops, staged in the courtyard of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.