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Ranking systems questioned

Contemporary Art | As for property and wealth, major art journals produce yearly rankings which photograph and class certain areas of activity in the international art world e.g. the Art Review Top 10 or the museum rankings by Art Newspaper.

Saatchi Gallery © DR
Saatchi Gallery
© DR

Since the Kunst Compass appeared in 1971, ranking systems have become widespread and indispensable in a new culture economy. In this vein, the ranking published by Art Newspaper in April 2013 listed the most visited museums and exhibitions of 2012. Figures from the 774 exhibitions surveyed are incredible. As far as contemporary art gœs, there were 600,989 visits to the « David Hockney RA : a bigger picture » exhibition at the London Royal Academy of Arts; 832,282 to « Back to art » at the Florence Galleria dell’Accademia; 161,176 visitors were captivated by « Little Black Jacket » at the Saatchi Gallery and 240,414 people visited the « Monumenta : Daniel Buren » exhibition at Grand Palais. These figures demonstrate the cultural effervescence of the times as well as the current popularity of museums.

However the rankings do raise questions as certain relevant factors are not taken into account in the survey criteria : whether the exhibition was free, the time of year when it took place, the population density in the country hosting the exhibition, etc. The fact that this data was not considered complicates interpretation of the rankings. Similarly to advertising, the visitor index is demonstrative of both behavioural and commercial factors given that the culture economy is based on entry figures.

Vincent Kozsilovics
Publié le 06/08/2013
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Saatchi Gallery © DR

Saatchi Gallery
© DR

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