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L.A. museums lag behind San Francisco in Art Newspaper survey of 2010 museum attendance

March 29, 2011 |  6:00 am

By many measures Los Angeles now has one of the most vital art scenes in the world. So why do its leading art museums still lag behind counterparts in New York,Chicago and San Francisco, not to mention Paris and London, when it comes to general attendance?

That is just one question raised by The Art Newspaper's international museum attendance survey for the year 2010, which will be published in its April issue.

TopusmuseumsWith 1,205,685 visitors last year, the Getty Center ranked behind the leading museums in New York, D.C., and Chicago. It also trails the de Young Museum in San Francisco, which broke the 2-million mark for the first time ever last year thanks to two blockbuster exhibitions: King Tut and paintings from the Musée d'Orsay. 

(Including the Getty Villa figures would bring its total to roughly 1.6 million. But by the same token, including attendance at the Legion of Honor, the de Young's sister museum, would boost it to nearly 2.5 million.)

LACMA posted a 2010 attendance of 914,356, which puts it behind other encyclopedic museums like the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and just ahead of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Other L.A. museums, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Hammer Museum, did not make the cut of top 100 museums worldwide. Click here for the full story exploring the gap in museum attendance, and what L.A. museum directors are doing about it.


LACMA reports uptick in admissions for 2010

Museum attendance up, income down

Museums roll out the red carpet for Hollywood


--Jori Finkel


Comments () | Archives (3)

The top industry in S.F. is tourism—hence museum goers. In L.A. I believe it is international trade and manufacturing (believe it or not). Los Angeles is the largest manufacturing center in the United States.

After reading the full story:
So what are LA's museum directors doing about it? With the exception of Annie Philbin who states (in the main article) that good programming is her goal (bravo!), they are playing to whoever they think "real" people are (street art?) and building more buildings - yes yes museum expansion and renovation is what visitors want.

We don't want great exhibitions - we want street art and Tim Burton and yet another building to house...what exactly? A mediocre collection and "blockbuster" shows?

There was a time when museum directors would have been ashamed to speak the way Govan-Deitch speak about the museums they are directing. Big bad "blockbusters" will increase attendance. Bigger bad building projects will increase attendance. NOT better shows and better artists? No wonder the quality LA's museums lags so far behind the respected art scene in LA.

The "scene" the author mentions in the main article was created and is maintained by the energy of the artists and the art schools - all of which barely register on Govan-Deitch's mind.

Give LA's artists and MFA programs and interesting smaller museums with independent ideas - The Santa Monica Museum of Art and the Hammer - the credit for the energy and quality of art in LA - not these vulgar business men.

We may be the largest US port, but manufacturing/ No Way. I see one site that claims so, but is totally wrong. There is no more steel industry in LA area, it used to be in Fontana, gone. And the car industry is all assemblage, veneer like our art, no part making or foundaries. Houston is #1, with two other texas cities and NY and Chicago, we are way down the real list. No major corporations here, aerospace left long ago. Movies only.

And the LA "artscene' is appearance only also. mostly interior decorators buying through companies to furnish Hollywood types homes, before they go bust, always turnover there. This is not an art town, never had been never will be. It is the entertainment capital of the world. A necessary evil perhaps, but the yin to arts yang, and never the twain shall meet. Fashion is not creative art. Nor the rag business a real industry.

Though art most certainly is a business, one of career, not crativity or purpose. It has no real value or product, just glorified framed wallpaper


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