The Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale, which closed on Sunday, November 26, reported that its 2017 edition was the most attended exhibition in the Biennale’s history. Curated by Christine Macel, “Viva Arte Viva” welcomed more than 615,000 visitors over its six-month run, in addition to 23,531 people who attended its preview days. These figures mark a 23 percent increase from the 2015 Biennale, which drew 501,502 visitors.
Macel and the show’s president, Paolo Baratta, also noted that there was a high number of young visitors. People under twenty-six years of age made up 31 percent of the total visitors, and 15 percent of the visitors were students. Baratta attributed the surge in attendance to the main exhibition as well as “a growing familiarity with contemporary art” and “a growing desire to discover first-hand the vitality of art.”
The exhibition showcased the work of 120 artists and featured thirty nations in the pavilions of Giardini, including three countries that participated for the first time: Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati, and Nigeria. Macel said it was “designed with artists, by artists, and for artists.”
While details of the next edition of the Biennale will not be released for some time, the 2019 show is already causing a stir in Australia, where several prominent sponsors of the country’s national pavilion have pulled their funding in protest of a new process through which it will select artists. Read more about the controversy here.