The 59th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia registered a record attendance with over 800,000 tickets sold – plus the 22,498 people who attended the preview – the number of visitors marked a 35% increase over the 197 days of the exhibition.
On Sunday 27 November, the 59th International Art Exhibition titled "The Milk of Dreams", curated by Cecilia Alemani and produced by La Biennale di Venezia, came to a close with a registered record attendance. With a total of over 800,000 tickets sold – plus the 22,498 people who attended the preview – the number of visitors marked a 35% increase over the 197 days of the exhibition compared to the 173 days of the 2019 edition. Even considering the greater length of the Exhibition, the increase remains substantial, particularly given the restrictions on travel imposed by the pandemic: this is the highest visitor attendance in the 127-year history of the Biennale Arte.
President Roberto Cicutto commented on the results in these words: “I would like to point out, in particular, that in this remarkably well-attended edition - despite the low presence of visitors from the Asian area - which boasted great attention from the Italian and international press, La Biennale was determined to guarantee the presence of Ukrainian artists, supporting the creation of a Ukraine Pavilion and providing an available space at the Giardini – “Piazza Ucraina” – in which to show works in any format (transmitted digitally) by artists who remained in their country and are often directly involved in the resistance to the Russian aggression. I furthermore would like to highlight the Curator’s great determination and capacity for having organized such a rich and important Exhibition despite the restrictions imposed by the two worst years of the pandemic. I would furthermore like to thank the Board of Directors of La Biennale di Venezia for sharing and continuing to support the Foundation’s choices. And finally we would like to thank the highly professional staff of La Biennale, who have worked with such great dedication on the organisation and management of the Exhibition.”
The Curator Cecilia Alemani on her part stated:
“As The Milk of Dreams is about to close after 7 months, I want to thank all participating artists for contributing to this exhibition with wonderful artworks and with a passion and enthusiasm that fueled me and the entire institution in these past two years.
It’s been a very long journey that took us through a pandemic, a cruel war, and a collective sense of uncertainty. To organize this exhibition under such circumstances has been a great adventure, but not one without hurdles and complications. I have conceived this exhibition remotely, with hundreds of studio visits done on zoom with artists from all over the world. Very few artists were able to come and do site visits. Nobody knew if the artworks would get to Venice on time. Even if now things seem to have returned to a sort of normalcy, we all know it was an extraordinary period and that it took more than two years to get to this point. The fact that this exhibition could open on time back in April is still somewhat miraculous.
La Biennale team has worked under extremely complicated conditions, and this appearance of normality was gained through gigantic efforts, in a unique historical juncture that gives to the international character of La Biennale a sense of necessity and responsibility even more fundamental. For this reason, I am very grateful to President Roberto Cicutto, my curatorial team and the entire team of La Biennale who came up with solutions and solved problems with the creativity and professionalism that has made this institution legendary.
The 800,000 people who came to visit The Milk of Dreams demonstrate that art has the power to foster participation, and that after so many months of isolation, people want to celebrate and see art in person, in a joyful and communal experience shared with many friends, families, colleagues, and art lovers. In times like this, as the history of La Biennale di Venezia clearly shows, art and artists can help us imagine new modes of coexistence and infinite new possibilities of transformation.”
The public consisted of 59% foreign visitors and 41% Italian.
There was extraordinary attendance by young people and students for a total of 239,276, which represents 30% of all visitors. Visitors organized as a group were 14% of the total public.
There were 4,200 accredited journalists in the days of the preview alone, representing the Italian (1,705) and international (2,495) press, followed by the 5,800 who received accreditation throughout the months of the exhibition, for a total of 10,000 journalists from press agencies, televisions, radio, newspapers, periodicals, online news sites.
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