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What's Obama got to do with 'Kandinsky' success?

August 14, 2009 |  9:00 am

1_Blue Mountain_ph How much of a boost can an art exhibition get if Barack Obama shows up to look?

Culture Monster doesn’t know, but the Vasily Kandinsky retrospective toured by the president last June at the Pompidou Center in Paris -- amid an international media blitz -- has racked up the third largest attendance in the popular museum’s 32-year history.

The exhibition of the Russian artist’s paintings, which closed Monday, brought 702,905 visitors to the Pompidou. That figure is topped only by a Salvador Dali show that packed in 840,662 viewers in 1979 and an assembly of Henri Matisse’s paintings that attracted 734,896 visitors in 1993.

If you missed “Kandinsky” in Paris, you will have another chance in New York, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from Sept. 18 to Jan. 13. The 100-piece exhibition follows the career of a pioneering abstractionist and leading Modernism theorist from early paintings of horses and riders, landscapes and religious subjects to abstractions imbued with spiritual and utopian philosophy.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

Photo:  "Blue Mountain," a 1908-9 painting by Kandinsky. Credit: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum