Love them or hate them, blockbusters continue to be staged by art museums under pressure to deliver huge audiences, publicity and revenues for their stakeholders as well as museums in the blockbuster delivery game, like the Guggenheim which as Time magazine once put it has already taken the notion of global franchises further than any other American palace of culture.
The press around blockbusters always reflects the numbers game with reports of record-breaking attendances, giving audiences a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity to see masterpieces and so on, as was the case with the Australian National Gallery's April 2010 release headed Au revoir to 'Masterpieces from Paris' the most successful exhibition in Australian history.
More recently though ANG director Ron Radford put a novel spin on the numbers saying James Turrell's skyspace installation Within without was partly funded by profits from the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition adding “it's been paid for by the people of Australia that came to visit that show, the half million people, so in a sense this is a reward for them and the people of Australia”.
Images: James Turrell, Within without (2010), lighting installation, concrete and basalt stupa, water, earth, landscaping. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra