MCA Announces Annie Leibovitz Record Attendance

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Tuesday 10 May 2011.

Susan Sontag, Quai des Grands Augustins, Paris, 2002 chromogenic print image

Sydney, Australia The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) has announced that its exhibition of works by Annie Leibovitz has closed with record-breaking attendances.

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005 attracted 182,937 visitors by the time it closed on Tuesday 26 April 2011, making it the most popular exhibition ever presented at the MCA, surpassing both free and paid exhibition attendances.

The highly successful Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Year attracted 174,945 visitors when it ran from 24 February to 8 June 2009 and entry was free. Until now, it held the highest attendance record of all time for any exhibition at the MCA.

The Annie Leibovitz attendance is also almost three times higher than the previous record for a paid exhibition at the MCA. Take your time: Olafur Eliasson attracted 63,080 visitors when it ran from 10 December 2009 to 11 April 2010, making it the previously most popular paid exhibition since the Museum went free in 2000.

MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor is delighted by the overwhelming popularity of the MCA’s summer exhibition, and credits its success to a number of factors. “Annie Leibovitz is responsible for many of the most celebrated portraits of our generation. It is a testament to her passion for making pictures that her images have stood the test of time and continue to captivate viewers around the world, from New York to London, Paris to Sydney,” she said.

“During her visit to Sydney, Annie explained that this exhibition came together at a very particular moment in her life. She also said that she was unlikely to put such personal images on show again. I have no doubt that it is these personal images which provide an insight into her private life, coupled with the celebrity images that audiences know and love, that has made this exhibition so overwhelmingly popular.”

The exhibition averaged 1,146 visitors per day and its busiest day was also the day it closed on Tuesday 26 April when 2,350 people attended. Attendances were also high during the summer holidays and immediately after Annie Leibovitz’s visit to Sydney when it was not uncommon to have over 2,000 people visit per day each weekend.

Michael Harte, Commonwealth Bank Group Executive, is delighted the Commonwealth Bank was able to have supported the MCA in bringing this exhibition to Australia. “Commonwealth Bank sincerely congratulates the MCA on the success of Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005. Commonwealth Bank has a long-standing commitment and passion for the arts in Australia, and we are thrilled that a record number of visitors have enjoyed these powerful and personal moments from Annie’s collection. The Bank was honoured to host Annie at a gala reception in February, giving many Australians the chance to meet this world-acclaimed photographer and learn more about her journey.”

Ms Macgregor said the exhibition success could not have ben achieved without certain supporters. “The Annie Leibovitz exhibition was part of the inaugural Sydney International Art Series and supported by the It’s ON Sydney Events Marketing Campaign. I would sincerely like to thank Events NSW for enabling the MCA to present this world class exhibition in Sydney. I would also like to thank our major partner Commonwealth Bank for its ongoing support, as well as supporting partner Qantas and Reportage, all of which contributed to bringing this extraordinary exhibition to Australian audiences.”

The success of the Annie Leibovitz exhibition follows another record-breaking year in attendances at the MCA. In 2010, 578,913 people visited the Museum, which is the highest ever annual attendance in its 19-year history, up from the previous highest attendance of 547,935 in 2009. The 2010 annual attendance and the success of Annie Leibovitz continue the ongoing upward trend in attendances for the MCA which has increased its annual attendance five-fold in the past decade.

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990 – 2005 on Artabase